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extract from the poem Koi by John Burnside All afternoon we've wandered from the pool to alpine beds and roses ...
Sunday, 29 July 2012
Postcard to a Pen-Friend from a Penguin
Hi Krilly! And thanks for yours.
I received it safely, yesterday
in snow that fell with all the weight
and thunder of an avalanche.
Yesterday was bad.
We woke this morning, all of us,
in bags of ice. Not solid ice,
what we call breathing ice.
"Like lace," my mother says, like patterns
that the sea-ice makes sometimes
in forming slowly. Easy enough
to break apart, but nasty all the same.
My mother says it's global warming.
I cannot get my head round that:
how does warming make things colder?
Such groaning and deepgrowling
like monsters in the ice,
we've never known before.
The creaking and the cracking
come as standard, but not
this grinding onslought on our ears!
You ask about my homelife.
Mum says yell you this:
that if my homeland was to melt
- and dad syas; "possible..." -
the oceans of the world would rise
by more than fifty meters!
Life is small and on the edges here.
It's in the sea you'll find the eco-system
(for now, at any rate - or until man
finally destroys it with
his manic fishing). On what
we still call "land" there's very little:
just occasionally, rocks appear
from which the wind
has blown the snow. There
you may spot a smear of lichen
or some moss. That's it.
That's all that's visible.
We penguins stay all winter.
Almost nothing else is quite that mad.
Our summer neighbours call us
"Blubber beasties" - and it's true
beneath our eiderdown of feathers
thick coats of blubber
are our ultimate salvation.
(Some fish have anti-freeze
to keep their blood in trim.)
My mother manages
a single egg each Autumn
which my father incubates.
We have a creche. My parents
leave us there while they
go foraging for food.
They talk a lot about "The Hole".
They mean the one that man
kind made in the ozone -
our solitary shield - and his! -
against the ultra violet of the sun.
Our friends at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads are encouraging us to use our imaginations to explore lands different and distant. This week in their new spot Transforming Friday Hannah suggests the polar regions as our destination. Go take a peep; here.