Monday, August 18, 2014

Gary Lawless: "Treat Each Bear"

Treat each bear as the last bear.
Each wolf the last, each caribou.
Each track the last track.
Gone spoor, gone scat.
There are no more deertrails,
no more flyways.
Treat each animal as sacred,
each minute our last.
Ghost hooves. Ghost skulls.
Death rattles and
dry bones.
Each bear walking alone
in warm night air.

"Treat Each Bear" by Gary Lawless, from The Dire Elegies: 59 Poets on Endangered Species of North America, edited by Karla Linn Merrifield and Roger M. Weir. © Foothills Publishing, 2006.

Art credit: "Grizzly Bear at Sunset," photograph by © Carl Donohue Photography (originally color).


  1. We love this poem so much we have translated it into Italian to help Save Gemma the Bear in Abruzzo. It's been the worst spring and summer for 100 years in Italy which means the bears are foraging down the mountain closer to man. Gemma, one of just 12 female Marsican bears left of breeding age has been feeding on vegetables and chickens grown on local farms and is now the centre of a petition by locals to have her removed from the Abruzzo National Park and held in captivity, do help us to keep her freedom.

    1. Thank you for this wonderful comment. Here's to the freedom of Gemma and the life of all the animals with whom we share this good Earth.

  2. Heartbreaking as it comes closer to being true each day.


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