Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Headline Poem 1/21/14 -- Salt and Blood

(Photo credit Reuters)

Today's poem is based on the headline regarding the dolphin killings in Japan's Taiji Cove. I understand that the anger here is caused by the brutality in the trapping and killing of beautiful and extremely smart creatures. These dolphins are deceived, unfed, and trying to escape the bloodied waters. I wonder about slaughterhouses, hunting, eating meat, and the role of culture and traditions. Of course, I have more questions than answers...

Salt and Blood

they only know to trust
not the hands that feed them
because they have never been fed by hands

trust in the water filled with salt
trust in routes and instincts that lead to food, breeding, and home

salt clouds water before it settles
sometimes dissolving, unnoticed
sometimes masking the alarming distaste of a thing
it can distract
it can burn

when it is mixed with blood that oozes from trappings and trauma,
it stings,
it hurts

we beg to swim and float in it, yet we use it
to kill
our ancestors did it -- does that make it okay?

we are outraged by the sight,
but eat pigs and cows and chickens
(sometimes even while visiting aquarium parks),
fattened up only to be led down a waddling walk of shame,
so forcefully obese they can hardly move
slaughtered behind closed, bloody doors
stunned, brain dead, hung, bled, skinned, cut, packaged, and shipped to our dinner table
does that make it okay?

I have listened to students back from a November week away, talk about the
animals wild and free whose meat fills their refrigerators
our family will eat well
does that make it okay?

Meanwhile, I glamorize the Alaska Frontier, but wonder if I'd ever have the guts to kill and prepare the animals I eat every single day