Independence Day? by Sara Wright


She haunts me

little bear,

too slight,

too wary

to seek

seed I cast

for her

under

White Pine

in whose strong arms

she finds

comfort and safety,

if only for one night.

 

The animals are innocent

 

Where was she when

exploding fireworks

whitened a black velvet sky

split stars night after night?

Where was she

when mindless drones

spewed raging gunfire

screaming for Right?

Who comforted her

in her fright?

 

The animals are innocent

The deafening noise

punctures holes

in our bodies,

fractures cell walls,

jamming synapses

freezes thought

muddles our brains.

Caught in a vise

of metal rain

our terror increases

with each act of aggression –

thunderous blasts,

Indifference.

 

The animals are innocent.

 

So much for July Fourth –

the golden mean

of manifest violence.

Fraudulent strength.

I can’t even imagine

the terror a small bear must feel.

Her senses are so much keener

than mine.

 

The animals are innocent

 

How is it that we dare

celebrate freedom

in a country

where “independence”

is reserved only

for those

in power,

those celebrating war?

 

The animals are innocent.

 

The rest of us

lay low, desperate,

praying to deaf gods

for relief.

Bound by fear and abandonment

lack of integrity

choice is not real

for those whose trees

have been cut down,

whose health

is compromised,

whose money has run out.

Make no mistake – these

endings do not create

new beginnings.

 

The animals are innocent.

 

One night she

clawed her way

up rough barked pine

climbing high

into forked branches.

Peering down

hot coals

bore through

fragile skins

of difference.

The littlest Bear

and her woman bend light,

twist roots.

A common plight is exposed.

The glue that binds us both

is made of pitch.

 

The animals are innocent.

 

I try to comfort…

but her fright

meets my own

Towers of Steel

and Silence

insure

our anguish

remains un named.

 

The animals are innocent.

 

We are haunted,

and hunted…

bloodied by sharp yellow talons

we do not weep or moan

but swing helplessly

in a darkening

bitter orange sky.

 

The animals are innocent.

 

How do we accept what is

when we have been chosen

by America’s Eagle

to become its next prey?

 

Working Notes:

This poem has a number of themes – one is about a shy little bear who is too frightened to come for food when she needs it. I first met her the night her mother left her to mate towards the end of May. Too anxiety stricken to function effectively she was unable to relax enough to eat. Instead Rosie Marie dove into the trunk of the nearest white pine, climbed into its upper branches and remained there wailing pitifully for about 45 minutes. This bear was too small, weighing less than 40 lbs which puts her at risk for survival, as does her unbearable anxiety. When she disappeared I didn’t see her for a whole month and believed she might be dead.

When she re-appeared her extreme nervousness still prevented her from eating more than a few mouthfuls of the seed before racing to her tree for safety, the tree had become a surrogate mother. I have never seen this little bear relax enough to sit or lie down as her relatives do when eating. Although she isn’t afraid of my voice/endearments she runs the moment I step out the door and recently has taken to becoming a “night bear”. If she eats at all, she does so after dark. After spending just a few precious days with her she has become invisible for a second time. I think about her constantly, seeing those haunted eyes that first evening, hearing her keen… With the bear hunt looming I wonder somewhat hopelessly, how a little bear can survive alone in this hostile hunting climate? There is no one to help her.

A second theme is that about the Fourth of July – and the flag waving “patriots” that force the rest of us to our knees under gunfire blasts that last until the last drunk passes out. Those boys (not men) that assault people with deafening noise from exploding fireworks, raging motorcycles, and semi- automatic rifles do it just because they can. To celebrate violence and war. The founding fathers of this country created laws that have given them the power to do so. After all, they are the righteous right – the good ol’ boys who respect no boundaries, stick together, regardless of age. Compassion, decency and integrity are absent. Where are the protectors, the men who model kindness, respect and restraint?

And what can we do but endure while our animal bodies and souls are shot full of holes? These bodies, human and non-human alike are in the fire and under assault just as the Earth is.

A third theme is about interspecies relationship and how one woman and a bear are bound by mutual commonalities.

A fourth theme involves the eagle. The bald eagle has become a corrupted symbol for power that our “democracy” has stolen from its original inhabitants along with its mythology.

For Native peoples the eagle is a literal messenger from the gods who watches over the people.

For Americans the eagle has become a symbol that celebrates power over and the belief that this country has been divinely chosen (with god on our side) to be a world leader. It follows, of course, that we are better than others. We talk democracy and demonstrate with power over – our words and actions don’t match up.

In the wild, eagles soar high in the air, “close to the gods” as Indigenous peoples believe. What we don’t want to see is that these birds are also top predators, treacherous bullies who rule the skies, birds who tear flesh without mercy. The natural history of the eagle along with its corrupted mythology should give us pause… When Americans stole the eagle they killed the “messenger of the gods” and “birthed” his dark side, a rapacious killer.

This is independence?

 

 

Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.

Advertisements


Categories: animals, Climate Change, Earth-based spirituality, Eco-systems, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General, Interdependence of Life, Nature, Relationships, Spirituality

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. I don’t like the noise, either, even though it’s some sort of symbol of independence or freedom…..except that in many places (like where you live) it’s not flashy sparkles in the sky but big, noisy boys shooting guns just to prove they can shoot something off (pun intended). What I’m feeling these days is a huge cloud of fear that’s hovering over not only the U.S. but also the whole world. Yes, it seems like the predators are in charge again. Alas.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Barbara, I too feel that fear – what I wonder is how much longer people can go on denying what is happening…

    Liked by 1 person

Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: