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Monday, 12 December 2011

The First Conservationist.

Adam's job description
included oversight
of all the animals,
but it is said
that one by one
he forgot the names
of all of them,
and one by one
with each forgetting
the forgotten died.

He should have been
the naturalist
par excellence,
the model for us all,
the archetypal
conservationist.

Our failure is not his.
Ours is much the greater.
We have not even seen,
much less forgotten,
nor even given names to
(names we could forget)
multitudes of life forms,
great and small.

We kill them sight unseen,
we burn their habitats
in darkness and in shame,
make life impossible
for those who hold -
it's highly probable -
the gift of life for us.

16 comments:

Cloudia said...

I am frankly in awe of the heft, intention ,meaning ,bearing, conception ,execution and balance of this perfect poem, Dave!


Aloha from Waikiki

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haricot said...

This reminds me of Heathland Fire again. It was not Adam's fault and not because of sin but guilty. So sad...

Mary said...

Humankind definitely is guilty as charged, Dave!

Brian Miller said...

killing them sight unseen is much easier...names make it more personal...the forgetting the names by adam was symbolic of that for me...nice write dave...

kaykuala said...

DAve,
Adam without Eve being mentioned? If Eve is not factored in can Adam survive long! But he did! Amazing!

Hank

Kass said...

Oh yes. This one packs a punch.

Hannah Stephenson said...

This one really resonates with me---it is our responsibility to share the world, but we don't like sharing.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

For some reason I feel that the highest moment of this great poem is in the parenthesis ( names we could forget ) which again for some reason reminds me of Eliot's: "distracted from distraction by distraction..."

Windsmoke. said...

The last stanza rings true for me :-)

Titus said...

Wonderful overall drive toward the measured conclusion, for me it's the first and third stanzas that really stand out. I like that the stance in these is slightly more oblique.

Sheila Moore said...

powerful statement - I like the comparison to the biblical tale.

Dave King said...

Cloudia
Wow! This is the sort of comment one doesn't expect to get, but when you do, it reminds you why you blog! Thanks so much!

haricot
Yes, but sadness is turning into tragedy.

Mary
Thanks for the feedback.

Brian
Good point, that. Thanks.

kaukuala
I wonder how he would have survived without her - or wouldn't he?

Kass
Thanks a lot. Glad you think so.

Hannah
That is a very valid take on the problem, I think. Thank you for making it.

Tommaso
This makes for an interesting critique. Thank you for it.

Windsmoke
Thank you for passing that on.

Titus
Appreciate this comment very much. Thank you for it.

Sheila
Thank you very much. Good to know.

manicddaily said...

Right on, as they say, spot on. Terrible what we are doing, and you capture very well. K.

Jim Murdoch said...

So I guess that would make Noah the first conservationist. Now if only he'd remembered those damn unicorns.

jabblog said...

So true - we don't understand fully what we're destroying.

Ygraine said...

The truth in this poem is almost painful.
Perhaps it's time we humans realised we aren't the centre of the Universe after all!
Thought provoking and powerfully moving, Dave.