Black Bear

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Black Bear


like a hobo

walking down a train track

in a slow lumbering gait

we pace with you

coming in and out of view

between dense foliage

that separates the myth

from the reality


fingers point

hushed reverent voices

intone the chant

a bear, a bear

but this is not

some overstuffed facsimile

bought in a tourist shop

this is the real deal

muscle fur and power

moving through

the barely populated

hinterland of Canada

it’s destination unknown

to the ice cream sucking

swimming sun bathing

sightseeing gawkers

who strain to capture it

on phones and cameras


it deviates into the bushes

pushing on relentlessly

now hidden

except for the rustling

leaves and branches

approaching where we stand

the noise of bulk

grunting and heaving

it’s way onwards


the locals plead

and honk their horns

and clap their hands

because the human touch

is poison

pacifies the beast

and makes it human friendly

never again to fear

the skin sacks

when it trespasses into their towns

and they have laws

to kill it

to avoid it’s social neutering


but I have never

seen a black bear

in the wild

and locals will have

and my conscience

argues with my heart

to get the shot

to get in front

and get the shot

as it bursts

from the undergrowth


but in the end

with eye to camera

I think the lens

is like

a telescopic sight

on a rifle

and I see

a carcass


and humanely killed

for wanting nature

and this moment



a seconds thought

and then

our human nature

kicks in

and we let it pass

with only distant

out of focus


that man

and beast

can share

black bearcanadacullfamiliarisation threatholiday encountertourists

◄ Let Me Sit Beneath An Old Lamp

black clouds on a sunny day ►


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Stu Buck

Wed 14th Sep 2016 11:58

really enjoyed this, the first and last verses bookend the philosophical centre of the piece nicely.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Tue 13th Sep 2016 13:27

Good one, Ian; much enjoyed the immediacy of seeing, feeling and thinking so well expressed.

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