The White Bear

I’ve never met him

in his real,

silken, terrible presence,

not even in those


which they call zoos,

where they

display his sisters,

like plunder,

for the children

and the gawkers.


And if I were to meet him,

in that brief encounter

without coward-proof barriers,

it would be like

stepping into that

last living essentialness,


while he obeyed

his furious command.

And even then,

he is the blameless one.


While our cities

go on expanding

like ripples,

finally triumphant tsunamis,

his pure, magic land of mirrors,

the last unexplored

kingdom of childhood,

dwindles to perilous

ice scaffolds,

as in my dreams.


And although I’ve never met him,

I know,

as I sit at my ease

in this warm metropolis,

which burns scars

through the atmosphere,

that he is engaged

in his very last journey

and struggle.

His taut, exhausted body

swimming impossible distances

and failing eyes

that glance from

horizon to abandoned horizon,

pursuing us all.


He is the pure stain on the white land.

He is the indomitable spirit

that loves this life,

that dwells in me too

and in the destroyers.

When the white bear and the ice

have gone beyond the

crown of the earth, trailing the aurora,

what pure dreams

will the child have left?


Copyright 2014 Ricky Barrow


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