The Bear

Ted Hughes penned the bear omnipotent;

darkly mountain cached, lurking

bone-crunch fear, an endless descent

to the consummation of death.


The spring bear of Mary Oliver,

with her black fists, her red fire tongue,

is an illumination

of how to love this world.


There is no bear in my land’s scape

but I imagine her emerging

from an opal cave, swatting bass

from a silver billabong, plucking

crimson berries with her velvet mouth.

Mildly, plagued all the while by bush flies,

she shakes her shaggy head.

A full day’s fossick ends when she

rumbles up an acrid methane burp and rests,

back-haunched, in forest dusk. Her small

red eyes swivel on firefly flight.


Which bear is this?


After the seamless, dreamless

encaved months of winter night,

my bear would be that first emerging,

drenched in sunrise,

wide mouthed,

earth summoning,