Friday, 28 of April of 2017

Tag » salmon

Rebecca Swan – I Know You Wild Skykomish

I know you wild Skykomish River I know you
glaciers melting in the warm spring air
and you – rushing down the mountain full of snowmelt
roaring and shaking the ground, the granite boulders,
the granite mountains

I know you too my wild Skykomish
wide and quiet in a mountain meadow
flanked by a million tiny flowers
singing in the dawn with crystal notes
murmuring through starry nights

I know where you come from my wild Skykomish
hidden-gems-north-cascades-afdeep in the turquoise heart of translucent ice caves
following a serpentine trail through the grandfather hemlocks
past carpets of tiny liberty cap mushrooms
glistening like jewels in the dew

I come to you when I’m done with the rushing traffic,
the clatter of machines, the rough scream of chain saws,
the endless slap slap slapping of my windowshield wipers

I come to you my wild Skykomish
and touch my soul again.

Rebecca Swan
May 2008
January-February 2010 Earth First!


Lone Cone – Seeing Bear


bear is the forest
Walking Petersburg Creek, the Tlingit’s Seetkab Heenuk’w,
across the Wrangel Narrows from the mud-flat sloughs of

Mitkof Island, hiking a seldom-used wilderness trail
I pass the last cabin, last sign, last mark on the map

and come upon brown steaming mounds of berry scat,
piles of gutted humpies, half-chewed, fins still twitching.

Through skunk cabbage rank with growth and devil’s club
waiting in ambush, its honed thorns prickly with menace,

I skirt innocent gooseberries, expecting the worst,
prepared around each bend for some dark hulk swatting fish

and the ultimate terror of Ursus arctos horribilis.
Thick groves of old growth soak up light and squeeze out

shapes, the stab of strange limbs, flicker of breeze.
No quick exit out this maze of Sitka Spruce

tangled arctic bog, muskeg carnivorous with quivering
insects caught in the sundew’s last embrace.

A hundred humped shadows leap out at me from the brush,
startled, hungry, rearing up on hind legs, head-high

and higher, murder growling in their fierce gaze.
So near I can smell their panic wild as fish breath.

Lost in this still untamed Alaskan bush where two-leggeds
anima-bearhave no more weight than the meat they carry on their bones,

puffing a tin whistle like a webelo,
clapping hands, singing out of dread not joy,

I keep seeing the hundred hids of Death,
its snout hairy, fangs bristling, about to attack.

Bruin gone berserk and bounding towards me.
Slashed muscle, the snapped arm ripped from its socket.

Claws long as Bowie knives. Eyes like smoking volcanoes.
To run or play dead? Its bulk crushing me into the earth.

Seeing hot flash my whole life engraved on a salmonberry
ground to pulp in the molars of a steel-trap jaw.

I meet no one walking that trail, neither grizzly nor rabbit,
not even a deer munching lichen.

The air is crisp, clouds huddled against nameless peaks.
Perhaps for the first time in my life

I am alone with the dark shape of

Lone Cone Free Poem
May-June 1998 Earth First!

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