Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Wild Guesses at Their Numbers and Meaning
Lardy, the cathartic viciousness of my glee at England losing to Iceland was so mean-fucking-spirited it shocked and rattled me. Proxy for everything, sure, and necessary vent, sure, and better directed there than elsewhere, sure, but jeebus, Jeff, be Kind, motherfucker.
So no link reading last night, just Olive photoed, Teeth of the Sea listened, Mark Ford poems read.
THE PASSING OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON
This bird used to be the most numerous on Earth
And to blot out the sun for hours over Wisconsin and Michigan,
And to strip bare the great forests of cranberries, pine nuts, and acorns.
Whole trees toppled under the weight of roosting birds. In flight
They made a sound like Niagara Falls. Horses trembled,
And travelers made wild guesses at their numbers and meaning.
The bird's sad demise is chronicled on many websites. Children
Visit these for homework, and learn how far and fast the passenger pigeon
Flew, and that its breast was red, and head and rump slate blue.
As the opulent sun set, raccoon-hatted hunters would gather with pots
Of sulphur, and clubs and poles and ladders; in a trice they'd transform the dung-
Heaped forest floor into a two-foot carpet of smoldering pigeon.
Being so common, they sold in the city for only a few pence a dozen.
Farmers fed them to their pigs. By the century's end they had all
But joined the Great Auk and Labrador Duck in blissful oblivion.
The last known passenger pigeon was called Martha, after Martha
Washington. She died in Cincinnati Zoo on September 1st, 1914. Her stuffed
Remains were transported to the capital, and they're displayed in the Smithsonian.