Bareskin by Sara Wright

My friend

When we meet
our deep
brown eyes
mirror a
mutual need
for light
to penetrate
human darkness.

Your eyes are
wary and fearful;
Mine hunger
for your touch.
I cry out softly
“Don’t be afraid…
I love you”.

We share
a haunted skin –
hunted down
by Difference.
You are slaughtered
by men with guns.
I am knifed by wounding
man words,
– boy threats,
a ‘gift’ of a still warm
grouse – her neck twisted
and broken – dropped
at my door.

There are so many ways
to kill an animal.

You have shiny black fur
and my skin is light
but our senses scream
as one
in torment –
our bodies feel
the earth moving
under our feet.
We have no place
left to go –
no hope of peace.
What’s left?
to endure.


Working notes:

Some nights I walk down to the field, the one I call “field of dreams” to gaze up at the constellation of the Great Bear who circumnavigates the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere the Great Bear was probably the first image and manifestation of the Goddess. As a bear She denned in the fall, gave birth in dead winter, was reborn in the spring, feasted during the summer, and re –entered the cave of night in the fall, participating in an endless round of becoming. This year I feel the loss of Her Presence keenly. It has been a year of endurance; one in which hope has been absent. A year permeated by fear, drought, heat, stagnancy, unbearable waiting for house repairs to begin. It is almost October; un – dealt with house repairs loom as parched leaves drift to the ground and rains never come… I am losing perspective and I know it.

Wild bears have been for the most part absent from my life. For the first time ever. The absence of day bears mirrors the apparent loss of the Great Mother in me. I am drowning in doubt, depression, and uncertainty.

Of course, hunting pressure has reduced the number of bears to almost zero and those that still haunt what’s left of these broken forests have little food or protection. Even though I offer sanctuary, treats and friendship bears have been too wary, visiting only under the cover of night. I almost never see them.

The exception was Coal, a timid 300lb adult female that barely allowed me to get a few glimpses of her during the month of June…Although Coal knows me she is no longer interested in friendship. That she has survived long enough to reach adulthood and is of breeding age (she bred last year but lost her cubs to god knows what horror) guarantees that she has had too many threatening encounters with men to trust any human, including me – a woman who loves her.

Because we are in the midst of the three month black bear slaughter I think about Coal every day hoping that somehow she has managed to escape the hunters raging gun, wild dogs that ‘hound’ her, the ugly steel traps illegal in every state but this one…I look at her picture wondering if there is some way to reach her, to protect her – to help her survive. But I suspect that I am as powerless to help her, as I am to help myself.


 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 Maine.

Categories: animals, Earth-based spirituality, Ecofeminism, Ecojustice, Nature, Women's Voices

Tags: ,

9 replies

  1. This touched me on so many levels, deep in my bones…
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad and sweet. I hope the bear is safe and well. I hope you are safe and well. I hate hunting so much, I won’t even edit books with hunting in them. Yes, sometimes people hunt for food, but if there are real sins in this world (hah!), then “sport” hunting is the biggest sin against nature. But don’t get me started……..

    Stay safe and dream about your friends the bears. Bright blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. what kind of person would want to kill a bear (for sport)?

    no way an egalitarian matriarchal man would do it,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Praying to Great Bear Mother for and with you and all your bear kindred.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Courage to endure.” A beautiful phrase. Sending light and energy to you and Coal for the courage to endure and also health and safety. You mention feeling powerless to help her, but you have helped her already by posting this poem and notes – so many more people are now aware of Coal and her plight because of what you have written so poignantly.

    Liked by 2 people

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