The Saturday Poem: Elegy for the Arctic
A new poem by Leanne O’Sullivan
Now that we believe in the stories
of your vanishing, you who had
been there all along, outside of time,
you upon whom the light of day
is now burning, our sorrow is such
small economy. Even an hour
sets us apart, is a fragment lost
and drifting from our hands,
like the sun clearing away
the mists above you, and the pools
where you quarry, and the birds
waking close to you in your own music.
We knew you as brightness anchored
in shadow, the body of a perfect
wilderness listening across the tundra.
What do you hear now, as you move out
toward the shore where the whistling terns
pass overhead and into the darkness?
I hope this leaving is as kind to you
as for any elder, any great animal
going the same way. Keep safe
for us the trails that lead back
to level ground, back to the beginning.
I fear those too are disappearing.
Leanne O’Sullivan’s most recent collection is The Mining Road (Bloodaxe)