KOALAS IN HADERA WOODSby Elisha Porat

INCOMPREHENSIBLE by Summer Breeze

I LEAVE THE LAIR by David Jackson

WIND OF BEYOND by Uncle River

EYE TO NAVAL by Abuela Musica

REMNANTS by Paul Kessler

URSINE EPIPHANY AFTER A SCARE by Robert Erman

"...matter that has to be done..." sent by Rebecca Duncan
 
 

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KOALAS IN HADERA WOODS

Translated from the Hebrew by Asher Harris

 
Golden koalas dance there
In the heights of the treetops, leaping in front of me
And offering me their honey in flower-bowls:
The sweetness of eucalyptus, delicate and smoky,
And rosin that gives off the sharp scent of myrtle.
They salute me in their slothful idleness,
Hanging like memories in the thick wood
That darkens before me, sundering out of my years.
As if they know that I am hurrying now
To the town railway station, to
The renovated platform, to part from my dear ones:
My beloved; my life; at the edge of the wood, opposite
The dunes of Hadera West station.
- Elisha Porat

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INCOMPREHENSIBLE

bear eyes mourning for such a species
as whose mating habits include
 headache, kidney stones,
    cirrhosis, hangover and lately shampoo and aphrodisiacs
with
bile of bear

2 days of tear drops for the bear before i finally saw
the bear's mournful sad eyes are not for bearself
they are for us humanselves
with such collective karma
to render balance to
every life a jesusfreak to be reckoned with
soo many years/eons/moments
forgotten to remember
remembering to forget
mournful & bewildered
bear eyes

- Summer Breeze

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I LEAVE THE LAIR

 
   I leave the lair
   dark and desolute
   damp and musty
   and wander in the sunshine
   for awhile yet
   before the rest
   before the darkness
   I leave the lair
   and wander among the breating ones
   still for awhile
   Blackheart comes for me
   he will find me indeed
   as always beside the waters
   of the
   creek
- David Jackson
 

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Wind of Beyond


Wind of Beyond on edge of Abyss
That swallowed a World at the Change.
How strong You blow Millennium
So much bigger than human lifetime.

To conquer the Wind - a joke, were
Those caught on the puff not human beings
Whose lives depend on desert fish and
Ocean fire, who must thus crash.

Five Sun, Mountain, Sea and World,
Wind Who inhales Worlds and breathes
Forth human life, Whose love bestows tragic
Gift: That those who would conquer must die.

A Dragon Star shines in the Sea;
Bears dance around Time. Creator's
Gift to Millennium removed humans possessed
By the Wind from lives whose breath can see.
 

- Uncle River

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Remnants

 
Bears' hairs are turning up all over, sometimes in the suburbs but mostly in the country. It is only the hairs that show up, for some reason no one knows --- the rest of the bears, the teeth, eyes, and paws, cannot be found.

Sometimes footprints can be seen in muddy alleys after rains --- they glisten in the sun or moon, sometimes rippling eerily as the wind strokes the puddles with impatient hands. Sometimes small moans can be heard, as if the bears are wandering in a kind of bewilderment --- lost bears seeking caverns or abandoned houses, though the bears themselves are invisible --- ghost bears, perhaps --- mere remnants of what once haunted different landscapes, alleyways of woods and leaves where asphalt and steel were
unknown.

In a cellar the other day, I wandered, myself, through the skeleton of a building left to the vagaries of children on listless nights, seeking strange companions in the broken glass and rubble. You could see the hairs of these spectral bears as you walked from place to place, and occasionally you paused, because they suddenly gathered in unusual formations, like iron filings drawn by the moon into unknown iconographs. You watched these stencils as you walked --- they shifted and altered --- like looking through a kaleidoscope where the movement of your feet had the same effect as turning a cardboard cylinder. But the stencils never evolved --- they remained quixotic, mercurial, like amoebas drawing themselves thin at one spot, then elongating into stifled pseudo pods.

I have tried to determine the origin of these hairs, but the bears
themselves are gone, even from the country, even from the zoos which had captured them a while before they turned wholly extinct. And when a footprint occasionally appears on the grounds outside my door, I look about, but there is usually no more than one, freshly inlaid, as if the rest of the creature has gone elsewhere, seeking sanctuary.

These findings will continue, I know --- it may be that the hairs and footprints will never truly vanish, as if nature can abide only so much abandonment before enacting vengeance. I have wondered whether, at some time in the future, more of these creatures will return to a kind of half-life, though I strongly doubt they will return to the lives they led before, and will in any case never again submit to a caged existence. I am watching the caves and abandoned places, since these are the ones they favor. I find a sort of kinship in these indigents, who may have seen that a half-life is as much as can be hoped for in the the final reckoning --- of fate. We shall see what the future holds.
 

- Paul Kessler
 

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URSINE EPIPHANY AFTER A SCARE


the moon is quietly flinging shadows
spanning the sky tonight
glowing ice flows aloft are mountain clouds
and between these crossing slowly
over rivers of darkness comes the great bear

i see stars in the dark fur
wet and shimmering
and start connecting the dots in mind
to make out the outline
of a bear in new hampshire
twenty six years ago
just a sound in the darkness outside concord

dropped off there in a jack pine thicket
at the end of the last ride
by a possible maniac out there now
sounds like
swinging a grass whip in the underbrush

so i pack up quietly
but can't stop wondering
how much sonar can be read off a zipper
and affirm by starlight a best line of retreat
then just have to look
risk one blip with the flashlight
to check this character

and with such feeble lightning
jacklight a black bear
and see right away that the bear is taking
something else to be its meal

a low scrub of berries it scarfs in the dark
with claws out whacking the bush like a rake
bear flips twigs and leaves and berries
with no seeming preference toward the yawning mouth
swallowing unknown bugs and bird shit
calm in its larder an hour before dawn
bear is housed safely in the whole blessed earth
has everything needed ready at reach
and just simple rambling
is proof enough for all its appetites

rested so and packed for prudence
i feel my way downwind to the road
hike on the shoulder into first light

when it starts lifting things out of the gloom
find a breakfast of berries bears have missed
is laid out for me on the side of the road
sweet and with years of rambling
yet to be given me
picking and choosing amongst offal and thorns
i carried hand to mouth as always
what i still know to be a great sacrament

and i know that until the axe finally falls
that scythe i hear swinging is only history
a shadow shape slicing through the light
like this terror tonight
of someone regretting they let me go
brings another false bear scare
and shaggy shaking down another rough crossing
splashes cold water on the coming year
 

 - Robert N. Erman
 
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In response to a request for bear poems, Rebecca Duncan sends
the following quote by Bertrand Russell, as also fitting:

"...matter that has to be done..."

Those whose lives are fruitful to themselves, to their friends or to the world are inspired by hope and sustained by joy; they see in imagination the things that might be and the way in which they are brought into existence. In their private relations they are not preoccupied with anxiety lest they should lose such affection and respect as they receive; they are engaged in giving affection and respect freely, and the reward comes of itself without their seeking. In their work they are not haunted by jealousy of competitors but are concerned with the actual matter that has to be done. In politics they do not spend time and passion defending unjust privileges of their clan or nation but they aim at asking the world as a whole to be happier, less cruel, less full of conflict between rival creeds, and more full of human beings whose growth has not be dwarfed and stunted by oppression.
- Bertrand Russell