Sailing with just the jib
The earth a broken crib
and all the babes a-squall
cry no more cry no more
There’s such a thing as bit rot
you said you said
it seemed everyone was reading
about extinction amidst the extinction
as if knowing were enabling. Winner
loses, the Marxist wrote, melancholic,
remembering the existentialist
adrift on the seas of his certainties.
To the east the sea’s growing darker
and a punctual low roar times itself
in the ear against the blood that in the ear
moves. Motorboat hour. Lobster trap check.
Exposed rock and the low tide
and an unease outstripping psychology.
Everyone dissolving into everyone
else but the lunge for the sublime
continues oh pathos and rage
for individuation. With the VR set on
the rapist feels it and then? Limits
of empathy as Noah determined
pulls up his ladder the sealed-in elect
to survive the drowners to drown.
Copyright © 2020 by Maureen N. McLane. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 5, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.
This is the world
so vast and lonely
without end, with mountains
named for men
who brought hunger
from other lands,
of the thick, dark forest of trees
that held each other up,
knowing fire dreamed of swallowing them
and spoke an older tongue,
and the tongue of the nation of wolves
was the wind around them.
Even ice was not silent.
It cried its broken self
back to warmth.
But they called it
ice, wolf, forest of sticks,
as if words would make it something
they could hold in gloved hands,
open, plot a way
This is the map of the forsaken world.
This is the world without end
where forests have been cut away from their trees.
These are the lines wolf could not pass over.
This is what I know from science:
that a grain of dust dwells at the center
of every flake of snow,
that ice can have its way with land,
that wolves live inside a circle
of their own beginning.
This is what I know from blood:
the first language is not our own.
There are names each thing has for itself,
and beneath us the other order already moves.
It is burning.
It is dreaming.
It is waking up.
From DARK. SWEET.: New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014) © 2014 by Linda Hogan. Used with the permission of Coffee House Press. Published in Poem-a-Day on March 6, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.