In poetry this week – Beach bear, 1800s

In poetry this week/ Beach bear of 1800s
by Jan Godown Annino

(!st – Poetry Friday is served by Jama’s Alphabet Soup</a>.)

I’m sharing a bear on the beach poem I wrote, published
in 2006. It was inspired by an account of a traveler
in 1800s Florida.

You may not know what is happening in Florida
now.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 a nearly 20-year ban on killing
this state’s remaining wild bears is to be lifted.
Up to 320 random bears, mostly minding their own
business in woods of North Florida &
Central Florida, far away from tourists, can be
shot. And shot. And shot. And killed.

I repeat, wild black bears in our lovely & wild forests
which remain mainly in Central and North Florida, will
lose the safety of deep woods for the duration of the hunt.
This includes females who have cubs.
Where will they run to? Where will they hide?

milkweed-book-covers-165

Here is my poem.

Beach Meal, 1820s
by Jan Godown Annino

first published by Milkweed Editions, 2006

The beach is lit by the light of the moon
when she-bear pads along the shore

She stops
lifts wet snout to salted air
moves on

She repeats this testing until
sniffs satisfy

She pads to a sandy place on strong feet
stops,
digs

Sand and shell bits plume
skyward

to snow back down on thick fur
still,
she digs

She stops
shoves her mouth into a mound

She tears and slurps
soft gift from the sea
round white balls

A secret treasure chest
buried by a sea mother

She-bear shoulders through palmetto
to home,
nourished

frosted with smear of yolk
with glitter of sand
©2006-2015 Jan Godown Annino
revised 2015

I hope your news outlets will carry information about
protests of the hunt.

For years, this state that still holds pockets of paradise
despite being loved to death by a populous that has made it 3rd in
the nation, has struggled with balancing panther, sea turtles + bears
against growth, new housing + winter visitors.

Almost magically, we have areas where wild panther
roam.
And we have clear waters with several species of sea turtles. They
are protected by lights out or lights dim at night, so the pregnant
females can be encouraged to pull themselves along sand, to lay eggs. Once,
our state residents + visitors took them for soup and shell.

And, once, bears were protected in Florida.
Until now.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

I do know that uninformed residents feed wild bears, either deliberately
or inadvertently via trash. This makes me think of
uninformed visitors + residents who try to get close to alligators
for a photo op.

There are so many ways to restrict garbage collection sites, to
impose rules, as in Canada, about family trash bins. So many
other strong education measures to take that is more than advice.
So many enforcement measures about feeding bears.

Instead, bear-feeding people have flaunted the situation. And
that provoked encounters that sent people to the hospital.
And now we have a bear hunt.

If you are interested, here is the address of the Florida
Chamber of Commerce. It may be worthwhile to let them know
that the business of hunting bear isn’t as important as
the business of attracting wildlife-appreciating visitors

Florida Chamber of Commerce PO Box 11309 Tallahassee FL 32302
info@flchamber.com
twitter @FLChamber

If you have a connection with a visitors/tourism bureau in a
part of the state, you may also want to contact them.

I don’t know what accounts for the political change.
Visitors + residents still rank our nature parks + national forests +
protected estuaries + beaches as top reasons they return.

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

image copyright all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

We don’t hunt manatee. Anymore.
Why bear?

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Explore some more

EXPLORING
Judith Viorst

“…I’ll ponder the sea serpent’s slither; the shark’s slashing fin,
I’ll wander the world and beyond it, by foot and by rocket,
To where the sky ends and mysterious rivers begin…”
copyright Judith Viorst, in her poetry collection, SAD UNDERWEAR

A link to the poet, Judith Viorst

http://www.poemhunter.com/judith-viorst/

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

…“but a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
and a butterfly flitted across the field,
and all the leaves were calling me
and the wind went sighing over the land
and…”
– copyright Richard Le Gallienne

A link to the poet, Richard Le Gallienne

http://www.poemhunter.com/richard-le-gallienne/biography/
(* added July 22, 2015
This poem came to me years ago in the huggable book,
SUNFLOWER HOUSES by my favorite celebrity garden guru, Sharon Lovejoy. It does the soul good, to dwell with not only Gallienne’s poem, but with Lovejoy’s lovely book.)

I am betwixt Judith Viorst and Richard Le Gallienne to explain
my sensation this summer. I have delighted in discovery of
the next child’s swaying & singing at a reading
but also,
a chimpmunk feeding
a snail leaving a trail

unnamed-13
Boston chipmunk I snapped in a garden.

-9
Elegant land snail in our front yard.

I’ve enjoyed three summer presentations to students at two day camps & one at our library. And I’ve managed a mighty fine amount of writing, which is my only summer goal. At the library we sang a verse of mine in the voice of books stuck inside the library on shelves, books that would love to glide out & go home with us.

I’m so happy
I’m so happy
Because
I’m gliding
not hiding
away..

-11

So, lucky me to experience another kind of gliding on the Wakulla River with my family & giant marine potatoes we joined on the long float.

copyright A.A  2015, Anna Annino, all rights reserved

copyright A.A. 2015, Anna Annino, all rights reserved

Because I am fortunate to live in Florida these weren’t my first manatees, but season after season, nothing prepares me for the exotic scene – slow rolls of table-long loaves. In the quiet that falls upon us as we turn our bodies above water to keep them in sight by our side, we hope for the moments when we hear the
pfffft! one emits, when it enters our shared airspace to exhale old air and fill lungs again.
Every breath they take that I witness is the opening of a sea treasure chest.

Ursus

This time of year big black refrigerators of the woods, bears, still slumber in the United States.

Bear specialists tell us that here in Florida, they don’t enter a true hibernation.

A few published poems of mine are about black bears. That is fitting as these wild, grub and berry eaters and I have met up three times unexpectedly. I’m not looking for any more crossing of paths, except in literature.

When I pick up a poetry collection that is new to me, as I have with Lucille Clifton’s evocative BLESSING THE BOATS, I am drawn to any poem story that employs themes in my world, such as the Ursus topic.

BLESSING’s poem, “imagining bear” is dedicated to Alonzo Moore,  Sr., by Lucille Clifton.

In part, it reads:

imagine him too tall and too wide

for the entrance to the parlor  

imagine his hide gruff; the hair on him

grizzled even to his own hand  

imagine his odor surrounding him

rank and bittersweet as bark  

I am struck by this on a rainy Wednesday morning. An idea I ponder is how fur-bearing animals don’t catch colds, develop bronchitis, from routine soakings in the wild.  (Manatees can develop pneumonia.)

A character I have summoned and have put on an island is someone who I think of in bear metaphors.

Clifton’s bear and my bears,  new character and in poems  (Milkweed Editions, the one & two with The Journal of Florida Literature) aren’t the Orlando bears most associated with my state, the theme world entertainers.

Although, tenderly handling the ragged bear hand puppet that survived my childhood, I found a muse to bring me bear poems for little children.

In sober poems, bears frighten. They are prowlers.

As Clifton writes:

imagine his growl filling the wind  

Here is a review that does justice to Lucille Clifton’s BLESSING THE BOATS.

photo post June 2011

A whirlwind visit of wonder and wonderful connections to South Florida – recently concluded.

My hubby received an award for his juvenile justice work. I luxuriated in visits with gal pals I rarely see, including our daughter’s godmother/my dear college roommate & my great newsroom pal who has raised her family in Russia & Kenya & California, but is rarely in here in FLA, her homestate.

Our family walked the beaches.

And found evidence of ocean stalking.

For my biologist pals – This is a rare beaked whale, found on my dawn walk at the same time the turtle patrol came upon it. The study of this creature will help marine mammal specialists understand this deep-ocean dweller. They usually feed in ocean canyons and are little-researched.  The folo- up news from Hubbs/SeaWorld & others onsite is that the animal died of some natural cause(s). It then became a portable cafeteria, in the circle of life as it drifted inshore.

Florida has an extensive system of lifeguarded beaches; please swim in lifeguarded places ya’ll.

POSTSCRIPT: regarding interest in  more images.

I took two additional views & they are gruesome.

Here is a link to a report in local news

http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/jun/09/rare-beaked-whale-carcass-found-on-fort-pierce/

Feb. 13, 2010

Meet me & a ga-zillion other folks at the Florida coast, Feb. 13, 2010 just after lunch at 12:30 p.m.
Link hands along the shore.
Let our leaders know how protective we are, of Florida’s shores.

This is organized by a Seaside Florida restaurant owner.

Visit www.handsacrossthesand.com
or the Facebook page of the same name.

If we don’t show our strength & carry the day, we’ll all be searching for appropriate gear to wear for continual beach clean up. Here’s a future newspaper I conjured up from the coast town where I spent childhood time at the beach. Tar balls, anyone?