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New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

5 poems by Gordon Meade

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Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet based in Fife. He divides his time between his own writing and developing creative writing courses for vulnerable people in various settings. His most recent collection, The Year of the Crab, was published by Cultured Llama Publishing in 2017. At present, he is working on a series of poems called, Zoospeak, which look at particular animals’ experience of living in captivity. Many of the poems take as their inspiration the photographic work of Jo-Anne MacArthur, http://weanimals.org

“The We Animals project was created by award-winning photojournalist, author and educator Jo-Anne McArthur, who has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over a decade. We Animals has become an internationally celebrated archive, and over one hundred animal organizations have benefited from her photography, many of which continue to work closely with Jo-Anne on stories, investigations, campaigns and humane education.”

(Jo-Anne MacArthur allows the use of her photographs so long as they are credited to her, and would welcome donations for her work from anyone affected by her images – I shall be donating out of sheer distress, Shirley)

 

“The following  poems are taken from a series of poems entitled Zoospeak which took as their initial inspiration the photographic work of Jo-Anne McArthur, especially as it is represented in her most recent book, Captive. By using both repetition and variation, the poems themselves attempt to ‘capture’ a number of animals’ experiences of captivity”. Gordon Meade

 

Lynx, Denmark, 2016

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else,
apart from the darkness.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else,
apart from the darkness
that is my cage.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else,
apart from the darkness
that is my cage.
I have nothing to say.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else,
apart from the darkness
that is my cage.
I have nothing to say.
My lips are sealed.

Don’t I just take
an amazing snapshot;
one eye, one ear,
and very little else,
apart from the darkness
that is my cage.
I have nothing to say.
My lips are sealed.
I speak volumes.

 

Arctic Wolves, Lithuania, 2016

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are:
caribou, raven, open spaces.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are:
caribou, raven, open spaces.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are:
caribou, raven, open spaces.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
unsure of where our prey is.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are:
caribou, raven, open spaces.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
unsure of where our prey is;
unsure of where our land is.

We are a pack of Arctic Wolves.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
in the process of losing almost everything
that makes us what we are:
caribou, raven, open spaces.
We are a pack of Arctic Wolves
unsure of where our prey is;
unsure of where our land is;
unsure if we are wolves at all.

 

Brown Bear, Germany, 2008

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else
put here for your entertainment.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else
put here for your entertainment.
This makes it easier for you to ignore me.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else
put here for your entertainment.
This makes it easier for you to ignore me
and the wire mesh that surrounds me.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else
put here for your entertainment.
This makes it easier for you to ignore me
and the wire mesh that surrounds me.
The wire mesh that separates us.

I am aware of what you are
and I am also aware of what you are
thinking. You are a human being
and you are thinking that I am something else
put here for your entertainment.
This makes it easier for you to ignore me
and the wire mesh that surrounds me.
The wire mesh that separates us
and your way of thinking from mine.

 

Red Fox, Lithuania, 2016

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain
and I am dreaming.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain
and I am dreaming
of the truth.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain
and I am dreaming
of the truth
that is the wild.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain
and I am dreaming
of the truth
that is the wild
which they cannot.

I am lying
on the concrete
floor of my cage
next to a drain
and I am dreaming
of the truth
that is the wild
which they cannot
take away from me.

 

Bottle-Nosed Dolphin, USA, 2012

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.
I am the focus of your attention.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.
I am the focus of your attention
for as long as you are here.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring, the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.
I am the focus of your attention.
For as long as you are here
almost anything seems possible.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.
I am the focus of your attention.
For as long as you are here
almost anything seems possible;
leaving, very little remains.

Here, there is a semblance
of caring; the illusion of freedom;
and a yearning for love.
I am the object of your gaze.
I am the focus of your attention.
For as long as you are here
almost anything seems possible;
leaving, very little remains –
for you, a memory; me, a pen.

 

 

 

 

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