Was just reminded of that time when a drugged bear fell out of a tree at our university, and I spent 45 minutes procrastinating grading by writing a poem about the incident and this iconic photo of it, after my adviser Carole McGranahan dared me to. Carole and I had both been marvelling at how mesmerizing this photo taken by a student at the scene was (the photo has since become internet-famous), and Carole said that someone ought to write a poem about it, and then proceeded to nominate me.
Here’s the poem. It’s untitled, and was written on the 27th of April 2012.
Without your Father’s leave
As Matthew spoke, a sparrow
Could not fall
from sky to soil.
Dad is watching always, even the cheapest, little bird.
bears were raised as people.
Pundits told us
Little cubs pressed to bosoms, lullabied a dressed
offering then dispatched, to go back
Streaking upwards to their Father
with Good Tidings – how I was adored!
What news is the bear, though
going down, floating
A lazy Lucifer
all-aglow with drugs unhurried
Tiny children, suffer, them!
Tranquilized and timeless
Every hair on their heads fallen, turned downy like fledglings
and handed Ketamine-lollipops by smiling weekly nurses
watch as they float up
To see Father.
* Incidentally, some readers will see the influence of J.Z. Smith and Joseph Campbell and their respective takes on the ‘bear ritual’ of the Ainu. When I first wrote the poem I initially mis-remembered this kind of bear sacrifice as taking place in Siberia, for some reason.
Here’s an article from the Boulder Daily Camera describing the original incident. Incidentally, again, it seems like Boulder conducted its own bear sacrifice later down the line, when the animal was subsequently killed. By this poem and image may he be immortalized in the stars!