Hilary Menos is a poet. Her first collection, Berg (Seren, 2009), won the 2010 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her second collection is Red Devon (Seren, 2013), and her most recent pamphlet is Human Tissue (Smith|Doorstop, 2020). She lives in France and is editor of The Friday Poem.
The moose haunts my dreams, his palmate rack
begging me for alms, or succour, or release.
Now he stands at the end of my bed in the dark,
chewing cud. I must scare him to save him
as the men here kill rogue moose, their rifles cocked,
their wool caps low on their heads.
He will die, he is dead already, though not by my hand.
But first he has something to show me.
He clops downstairs, jangling the chandeliers,
and shambles uneasily into the brush,
his muzzle flecked with foam, his coat rank,
and leads me through the evergreens and hardwoods
of Minnesota, Manitoba, Nova Scotia,
wading in ponds, testing his northern range,
his nose a spectral finger pointing the way to where
we are all heading, maybe, or maybe anyway.
April is the cruellest month, for moose.
Long warm autumns and late snow cause an uptick
in brain worm, winter tick, liver fluke,
and the moose get sick. The herds no longer congregate
at river beds and lakesides and salt licks. He shows me
one moose strung with pearls which feast on his flesh.
He shows me one moose turning in circles,
only loosely attached to her own breath
and then he shows me the calves —
their spindled legs barely supporting their weight, their fur
rubbed to pale undercoat, their skin rubbed raw,
their marrow drained dry, each just able to drag
their burden of bones through winter into spring
only to loosen and place it down as the snow thaws —
and a great light breaks in my mind.
I say what I saw.
CALL TO ACTION:
Read the recent poetry anthology 100 Poems to Save the Earth (Seren, 2021) edited by Zoë Brigley and Kristian Evans. Because sometimes only poetry can find the words to describe the sensations of a planet’s shifting, sing to what hurts, and evoke non-human beings as our kin.
Hilary Menos is a poet. Her first collection, Berg (Seren, 2009), won the Forward Prize 2010 for Best First Collection. Her second collection is Red Devon (Seren, 2013), and her most recent pamphlet is Human Tissue (Smith|Doorstop, 2020). She lives in France and is editor of The Friday Poem.