Friday, October 20, 2006


James Robert Smith

Species, going two by two
into Extinction’s black ark.
on LeConte
drinking poison rain.
The tall, once green trunks bleaching
white, bone white
in air, once cool
once good
now dangerous, biting, killing,
white death
blowing on and on.

I walk in sun,
that once fed us all
and now burns
in some new
I walk in sun
where shade was once,
protecting the earth,
providing cover,
making a canopy
that now is gone,
branches gone
needles gone
deep balsam fragrance gone.

Where are the little
red squirrels who once
Who once gathered food?
Who once lived?
Where are they?
Gone to that black ark,
or on their ways,
some few stragglers hanging back
to say goodbye.

I walk up the mountain,
maybe walking like the red squirrels
up the ramp of that black ark?
Does anyone else see
Don’t they know? Don’t they see
the trees,
my trees,
the forests of my youth
once tall and strong
climax rain forest clothing
the slopes like a black cloak
healthy and dark
the fragrance I can still recall
but barely,
barely as even the trees tilt
toward that ramp
that leads ever upward to
that black ark.

Everything is going.
Beautiful cats,
lynx, tiger, lion
once proud and numbering the
plains are fading fast.
The elephants, largest
that yet remain of the old
Pleistocene masses that
Man recalls, that Man destroyed
that Man will put away in that black ark
closing up the door as they go
two by two
to that final journey into
hastened by a poisonous mouth that has no
parallel in Greed
in Ignorance.

I stand on the peaks
and feel the poison clouds
enveloping me, invisibly
burning with a touch so feather soft
that it’s the perfect poison.
How can such a thing be deadly?
And I turn and look,
the trees,
our trees,
the forest of my youth,
once tall and strong and black
with green so green it was once
dark like shadows, dark like the pupils in
the eyes of patient tigers
lying in wait.

Only a few see. And they have
no power to
make things right. No power
to stop the poison
to close up the ark
to tear down that ramp
where the creations of
Creation are shoved
two by two
into the white, dead, sterile place
from whence there is no return.

I stand on that mountaintop
and I see the ramp!
I’m standing on it!
My son is standing on it! My family is standing on it!
You are standing on it!
Pushing all before you!
I’m doing it along with you. I’m nudging small
bodies, green things, large things,
needed things, unknown fellows we will never
now know for they will
be gone before we meet them.

And we’ll follow.
Going with our brothers,
Our sisters,
Our fellow creations
As one of two
by two
Into that white, dead place
in that great

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