Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mission Aborted, poetry by Susan Christensen

We’ll all make it, now.
Our raging river’s lure is strong now.
Its restful, clear, upstream beds beckon us on.

Through the wilder eddies at the water’s edge,
Too tired and beaten to brave the deepest current just yet
As it surges around the bend, we slow a while. But,
The storm swollen torrent tries to pull us back towards
Mother Sea.

There! Over there! The eddy seems quieter, gentler
And the surface of the threatening sky is barely broken.
A brief haven before the last energy-draining mile.

Destiny draws me on.
Just a little further now.
I know it in my bones.
Just to make it to the home stream.
Just to make my life-giving deposit.
Then forever rest.
Fulfillment lures me.

Just a few minutes of calm water. Surely the danger is past.
Vague watered-down memories lurk near my mind’s surface.
Mammoth netted ships pirating our juveniles on the high seas;
More blockades of nets seining us as we milled around,
Awaiting the right timing to dart to our deaths.
Huge denizens of the deep,
Orcas, herding us-- scooping up my brothers
As we closed on the river’s mouth.

We understand about safety in numbers. But,
Our numbers have been decimated.
This last frantic dash through the river
Has a naked feel
As we doggedly strive upstream.

Eagles, now, join the gulls. Forced near the surface,
Senses are jarred by their ravenous shrieks.
This ancient river path has been scoured and gouged
Making smoothed boulders with whirl hollows down here.
Deceptively, deeply quiet down here.
Even the gulls no longer jeer us over here.

I feel it strongly now. My few brethren and I,
Drained by hunger, drawn by destiny.
Our mission.
Our reason for being.
Pass on life.
Carry life to safe shores—that we might live again.
The cycle closes in on us.

Onwards! Back into the rapid froth. It’s time!
Time to struggle upstream. I’m not finished yet.

The dark-visaged man with his toque pulled down
And his collar pulled up, sharpens his focus
Against the water’s glare. Ah!
A good big one. This one won’t get away!

With a smooth, practiced swing of the long handled net
He raises the unsuspecting fish
Just as it skirts the curve of the boulder.

This one is a good size. And full of life, thrashing
As it hangs suspended in the air.
Taking extra care with his footing,
He clambers over the wet rocks with his catch held high.

This makes seventeen this morning, he smiles,
Thwacking it over the back of its head;
He throws it onto the pile of still twitching dead.

The family will be pleased.

~ by Susan Christensen

1 comment:

  1. The conflict, the controversy, the conundrum, the delimma,

    the one takes more than he can eat to feed his family,

    a miracle the upstream struggle still occurs year after year

    numbers waxing and waning, to be sure, with the weather, the water and the odds.

    good thought-provoking poem tipping the balance on the side of conservation!