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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.

18 comments:

Tabor said...

Really like this one and not just because it talks about what I recently wrote about, but because of the nice imagery. Winter lace and moss and lichens. I like the chatty small talk that we are making as the earth is re-defining how we must live.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Excellent job. That worked really well.

kaykuala said...

Penguins are having it that easy. And amazingly enough they are well informed about global warming and all!
Great write Dave!

Hank

Brian Miller said...

pretty cool taking the perspective of the penguin and working in the message of global warming as well...fairly sad what we are doing to the world around us...

Daydreamertoo said...

And it's all so very sad, isn't it. To think that man (money) is allowing the continued destruction of this planet and its creatures to make themselves even richer. Great tale told from the Penguin's POV Dave.

Hannah said...

Yes...David, I love the voice you use your pov a solid one with the backdrop of heightened awareness to this planets very real problems. Thank you so very much for your creative offering to Transforming Fridays!

manicddaily said...

A lot of fun here, Dave, if scary message. Very cool! I love the use of "yell" for tell, and the beginning, before we realize the penguin aspect, is especially strong. K.

Grace said...

Like the creative perspective of this Dave, specially ice as lace ~ And a meaningful message as well on the effects of global warming to these animals ~

Kim Nelson said...

I appreciate the sweet approach you take to this relevant environmental threat. Lacking the typical verbiage, you make even nay-sayers consider.

Dulcina said...

The funny penguin, my favourite animal.
What a delicious story to complain about human stupidity, Dave.
Your words have made me laugh and think a lot.
Where we live Repsol-YPF wants to do fracking; hope we can stop that dangerous practice.
Ah, money, money, money.
How does warming make things colder?, a good question from the smart penguin.
Who/what is Krilly...? Another rational animal?
:)

Carl said...

Another winner. Topical and vivid. I really enjoyed this.

ds said...

Ah, if only we would listen to the penguins. Very creative perspective and a powerful message. Thank you.

haricot said...

This penguin seems to have a sharp antenna that receive the change of nature accurately. In person I just have seen some penguins with fake snow fall on them, in an aquarium...

Dave King said...

Tabor
Thank you. A lovely comment. Basically what I was aiming for, though I did have some reservations for a while about the lace. I was thinking lace wedding dress at one point, but kept asking myself how she would have known about lace. Being too pedantic, perhaps. Thanks again, it helped.

Madeleine
Really good to hear that you thought so. Thank you very much for saying.

Hank
Well, just one particular family is well informed.

Brian
It is very sad, yes. Seems no way of stopping it.

Daydreamertoo
I share your sadness. Describing what is happening, it seems bad enough, but as you point out, when you add in the motives that lie behind it, it becomes far worse.

Hannah
Thanks for the comment - and for the prompt.

manicddaily
Much thanks for this. Good to know so many are so solidly on side.

Dave King said...

Grace
Much thanks Grace, really good to know your thoughts.

Kim
Hi, and welcome to the blog. Good to have you visiting and thank you for the comment.

Dulcina
Thanks for these encouraging comments. I'm not sure who/what Krilly might be. The name came from krill, of course, a vital ingredient in the antarctic food chain.

Carl
Thanks so much for this.

ds
Amen to that! Thanks.

haricot
Penguins with fake snow? How undignified for them!

A Cuban In London said...

We have a creche. I smiled at that. Very creative. And a superb way to highlight the perils of global warming.

Greetings from London.

Ygraine said...

I find it so sad that it is left to the Penguins and other animals to show us the error of our ways.
I thought we were supposed to be the ultra intelligent beings.
Seems we've made a grave mistake!
A truly brilliant and thought-provoking write, as ever, Dave :)

Mary said...

You have given the penguins voice, Dave, and us something to think about.