Thursday, 18 of January of 2018

Tag » Mississippi

Lucille Lang Day – Flows into the Gulf


Melted snow from the crests of the Rockies rushes
past pinyon pines limber pines lodgepole pines
corkbark firs ponderosas gathering silt as it reaches
bur oaks cottonwoods staghorn sumacs silver maples
passes prairie cord grass winds through cattails duckweed
skunk cabbage finally to mingle in the Mississippi
with water draining from thirty-one states where hunter-gatherers
lived with bison herds for ten thousand years

Now the river carries oven cleaner
human feces and caffeine
medical residue from hospitals and laboratories
scouring powder and soap from millions of houses
antibiotics from all the cattle ranches in the Midwest
solvents from farm-machinery plants
pesticides from corn and soybean fields
ingredients used to make plastic
enough estrogen from birth control pills to bend the genders of fish
thousands of tons of herbicides
fertilizers that cause algae to form massive green carpets in the gulf
which leads to an explosion of bacteria that decompose algae and kill
everything in an area the size of Massachusetts each year

All this even before 206 million gallons of oil
from the Deepwater Horizon blowout
before hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil dispersant
containing chemicals that destroy red blood cells and cause cancer
It all enters the shimmering, translucent bodies
of arrow worms and dinoflagellates consumed by oysters
the algae scooped up and eaten by shrimp
the crabs that crush mollusks and shrimp with their chelipeds
the sea bass whose stout jaws clamp down on any smaller creature
Of course, it’s in our blood and hair and fingernails
It floats in our hearts and permeates our brains as surely
as hope or anger It’s in your body and mine—
these molecules that cling like lovers to our bones

First published in Ambush Review #3, 2012

Jane McGarry – Ivory Bill Woodpecker


The ivory billed woodpecker is alive
spirit of river bottom bayous
ghost of the cypress swamp

extinct for 50, 60, 70 years
or so we thought

the ivory bill is alive
spotted first by a kayaker:
he pulled his paddle from the water
and leaned back
to drift a bit
in the still, February morning

and the big bird swooped in front of him
landed on a snag
craned its neck in herky-jerky rhythm
and flew off

enough to see
the distinct white-black wings
the straight flight through the trees
the large light bill

the ivory bill is alive
some small scrap population
along Arkansas rivers,
the Cache and the White
in the wet woods along the lower Mississippi

amid the welter of gone and going species
birds crustaceans insects spiders salamanders
orchids sandworts meadow voles milkweed butterflies
amid the flood of dead and dying creatures
the tsunami of extinction
triggered by the earthquake of us

the ivory bill is alive
such a beauty too
huge crested woody woodpecker head
ivory billed woodpecker by funny bugbill like a scimitar
made to shatter wood
bold black and white art-deco wings
crimson cap

this is a bird schoolkids will love
grandmas, truckdrivers, mailmen, movie stars
this is a bird America can love
unlike the willow flycatcher
or the spotted owl
this big bird has charisma

thank you ivory bill
for the dollars already flooding this project
for the happy ending and new beginning
for a feel-good news feature that might do good
save some swamp woods
raise awareness
let the people into the conservation story
help us stand some ground
against our ripping ravaging resource consumption

thanks, nature conservancy
quietly buying habitat for years
38398_1147966515_largeacre by acre
where the woodpecker was rumored
thanks ornithologists
bird men and women
who wept when they spotted the ivory bill
after lifetimes of hope
thanks volunteers, donors, scientists
searching for nest holes in the trees
measuring scars on bark
installing recorders in the swamp
to catch the distinct double drum
of an ivory bill drilling a trunk

thanks to the paddler
who put down his paddle
and leaned back in his boat
and looked at the dawn bayou
taking in the quiet waters
the ancient, patient cypress trees
being there, aware,
ready to receive

when the ivory billed woodpecker
winging straight through the groves
of thousand year old trees
flew a beeline into the twenty-first century.

Jane McGarry
July-August 2005 Earth First!

Armed with Visions is an all volunteer non-commercial community website dedicated to distributing educational "compilations" in the field of Deep Ecology. This website may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you, as a member of our educational community wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you, as copyright owner want your copyrighted material removed from this website you must contact us via our contact page.