HOARY

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Mammoth1

I am very excited to have my poem, ‘Hoary’, published in the wonderful Tincture Journal. Tincture is a quarterly online magazine full of great quality fiction, essays, interviews, and poetry. And it is only $8 an issue! You can have a look at some of Tincture’s free content  here, and please consider buying  a copy. It’s one of my favourite reads.

In the meantime, Tincture’s editors, Daniel Young and Stuart Barnes, have kindly given me permission to share my poem with you. I’ve included a short synopsis, which goes some way towards explaining the poem, and perhaps also to explaining a little about myself!

Synopsis

I have a strange fascination for mammoths. These huge, extinct creatures which emerge, often perfectly preserved, from the ice, appear to me to be like some unconscious, repressed memory of the earth, reluctantly resurfacing. As global warming speeds up the melting of the planet’s ice, more and more of these monstrous snow whites, suspended in their frozen graves, are being discovered. Recently, a sixty year old female mammoth, her body still so fresh that her blood was flowing, was unearthed – leading scientists to believe that they may have found enough viable genetic material to produce a clone…

HOARY

Fifteen thousand years I have slumbered
In my icy casket, a hoary
Princess waiting
Not to be kissed, but punctured
By the pick of a prying scientist.

My blood, dark as a fairy tale
Leached insidiously into the Siberian snow,
And my flesh flared red and fresh
Enough to eat.

My lower limbs devoured
By a lusty pack of ancient wolves;
My torso still fantastically intact.

What a prize: my anti-cryogenic
Strength has preserved the code
To conjure my kind back.

Exhumed from earth’s wet memory
(Who dares re-awaken me?)
Entombed in glass and sold for obscene show -
What they may unleash they do not know.

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38 responses »

  1. Ah I love this!!! Just….love it. Did they really unearth a Mammoth? And now they will try to ‘clone’ it??

    Wow.

    Anyway, they don’t know what they may be fiddling with…

      • Wow. I have to google this. But I love how you personalized this in the poem, it made me feel for it as if the mammoth and I were friends. Your poetry has such power. I’m grateful you continue blogging. My other favorite blogger/writer stopped blogging. Thanks for valuing this experience, because you are certainly valued. :)

      • Awww! That’s so touching, to have said something that moved you. And I love that I am a treasure to know (for you), because to me, you ARE! :)

        Our moment of mutual appreciation! :)

  2. Wow. Great, thought-provoking poem. Is this the first poem ever on the subject of a mammoth? Love the innovation.

  3. I share your enthusiasms for these kinds of mysteries…like warm familiar sweaters from the wool of a being that wore it before it became yours. Wonderful to read this morning Michele….and take into the day

  4. Michele, I love how fully you paint your portraits through delicious word choice, metaphor, rhythm, sound….I can just hear this enormous princess, at times darkly hissing, then murmuring, then roaring her half-lament half-plaint. You intrigue me with your subject: I hadn’t been aware of much of this material. But I wholly agree–fascinating, majestic creatures embodying memory, mystery, and perhaps warning? Thank you and congratulations! xoxo

  5. Wow! What a fascinating topic–and one I’ve never thought of. Yet, you exhumed its life for me with amazing imagery and haunting juxtaposition–my blood dark as a fairy tale…my icy casket…LOve it, Michele. And I love your synopsis, as well. Poignant observations.

    • Hi Michael, thanks, so glad you enjoyed it!
      I suppose a mammoth is a strange subject for a poem. But it’s a childhood fascination for me that just didn’t go away; that, and dugongs – go figure! :-)

  6. What a spell she has cast! So skillfully working her spirit into your words and our minds. “My lower limbs devoured by a lusty pack of ancient wolves” this is the line that brought me right to the moment. Love your subject and the poem.

  7. Sorry I’m late to the party Michele. I enjoyed this poem. When responding to a current event a poet might not know where a poem will lead, but that is part of the fun of writing it. It is fun for the reader too.

  8. This is one of those poems where the content overwhelms the craft, good though the latter is. So many issues raised here. Visit Mammoth World! Obscene show indeed! We might be able to bring it back to life but we can’t bring back the environment that it was designed to survive in.

  9. Thanks for this wonderful piece, Michele. I am also fascinated by mammoths. I read a novel by Martin Booth, Industry of Souls, where prisoners of war found a mammoth in Russia and cooked and ate the meat. Your post makes me see this may be possible. Cheers.

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