Dire Wolf (10,000 BC)
We were going along okay when you upped
& changed the status quo. Our Super-sized
Menu died off through your public meddling.
Your nutritional requirements affected us direly,
Our epoch had evolved the first Atkins Diet, all
Protein enriched, low carbs but you killed that fad.
Pride. That’s what tipped it. Slower than gray wolves
We had to scavenge for a living. Our frames couldn’t
Keep up with the new, trendy runners. Too heavy in
The jaw from eating all those giant bison. Desire ruled
At the end, if some prey got trapped in a tar pit, we lost
Our heads & hides. Pack stupid. We inhabit your darkest
Memories. Programmers get us. Now only noobs fear.
For we hunt again in electronic forests; pixel hungry.
Darling Downs Hopping Mouse (1840 AD)
You wouldn’t have known us but for a single skull
Found in the nineteenth century, but all that really
Told you is that we had a brain once & a face too.
The rest you’ve had to work out for yourselves.
Like our copious habit for mating on grass stems
Our night passion bending blades until the climax
Touched ground; fervor earthed in the deep, black
Darling Downs soil. Landfucking you’d call it, an
Exchange of sex-knowledge among mammal species.
Lucky then, our skull wasn’t discovered in those owl
Pellets like our cousin’s was – think of the inter-class
Innuendo that would’ve spread. Our preoccupation
With sex usurped by death eventually, all Nazis those
Pests & as for our extinction; we hopped right to it!
Quagga (1883 AD)
Equus quagga quagga
You’re a weird mob alright, a species obsessed
With boom & bust cycles, ours in particular. First
You cleared us away for your four-legged friends
After making a fortune on meat jerky & leather.
Concentration camp facilities you installed free
Of charge to regulate our demise, then confusion
Reigned as to who you were killing. Zebra brethren?
Native South African? Or somebody entirely new?
We were dead by the time you reached consensus,
So you turned to our DNA to solve this dilemma,
& hatched a scheme in some museum coffee shop.
Your Island of Doctor Moreau morbid fascination;
Experiment & start again! Breed us into existence?
At least you’ll have our name right in retrospection.
Ryukyu kingfisher (1887 AD)
Ah … this culture suited us down to a tree.
Avian Ronin, lordless we served no one else
But ourselves, splitting the infinity of freshwater
Our beaks tempered steel folded a thousand times
In evolution’s forge. Pommel jewel eyes cut fish,
Our spirituality secure only on a risen stomach.
We were a whisper, a ghost in the shell of nature.
Echoes of us reverb in the single specimen you
Took, blood legs, blood bill, painted-warrior class
We killed clinically, fluid death momentum held.
Honour bound us to end it all; ancient practice
Unfolded in dark canopies. Trees saw everything.
Bark writ; the scratches indecipherable to you.
We left your race little to ponder & halcyon days.
Lesser Bilby (1967 AD)
You were so confused, but then so were we.
Rabbits you thought us, on first impressions
Then our nasty little temperament bit through.
Rodents we preyed on, so un-rabbit like, so
Unlike Peter with his naughty habits of human
Baiting. We became fox food, floor rugs, ironic
Then, those coneys out-competed us, their broods
Superior, their ears cuter somehow? They received
Easter Bunny largesse; nursery rhyme cultural capital.
Lolly companies bank-rolled their cause, your species’
Sweet teeth too. We narrate all this from the hollow
Memory of a skull found lying at the base of wedge-
Tailed eagle’s nest in 1967. The referendum on our
Extinction was carried; cursed, rabbit gerrymander.
Gastric-Brooding Frog – Southern & Northern (1984 AD)
Rheobatrachus silus & Rheobatrachus vitellinus
Our story is so Greek, a classic tale of misadventure.
The tragedy is that you’ve missed it all most probably.
None of you witnessed our godlike qualities but we’ll
Share them anyhow. Our little ones sprung fully formed
From our mouths (we know, so like Chronus spitting out
His eccentric brood). A warped conception compared to you!
The last Southern captive died in 1984 – Big Brother’s vision
It seems only affected us! Then you discovered our Northern
Offspring…too late as usual, they’ve never been seen again!
The debate still rages – did we swallow our eggs or tadpoles?
A hormone stopped the juices; some were sacrificed for that!
What killed us? Rising temperatures, moisture drying out at
Altitude? Were we slimy canaries for the Greenhouse effect?
Perhaps, like Zeus’ clutch we turned on our kin & ate them!
Giant Galapagos Tortoise (ii) (c. 1830 – 2006 AD)
So my grand prediction was a little askew.
You outlived me in the end; a human touch
Only two months eleven days separated us
From our hyped celebrity. Maybe you had
To follow my new path to a starry waterfall;
Clusters of shell-thin galaxies, grazing on
Hibiscus coloured nebulas, the beak shears
Curvature of space oddity. After 176 years
Of earth hugging & scraping dirt over old
Memories I was due this last voyage. We
Both got it in the heart; time’s hooked barbs
Reversed so you can’t pull them out. We’ve
Dematerialised beyond time & space. Yes, a
Poor Galifreyan I made, but then so did you.
Harriet died June 23 2006
Steve Irwin died 04 September 2006
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
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