Reading in The Guardian (“Eerie silence falls on Shetland cliffs that once echoed to seabirds’ cries”) about some of the catastrophic effects of climate change on the bird populations in the Shetland Islands brought to my mind a prose poem that I wrote for Day 7 of WordPress’s Writing 201: Poetry course in February of 2015.
We did him no favors, keeping him alive beyond his time. All alone, now, safe from any germ or poison or dirt or grass or fresh, cold air and sun of an autumn morning, rays of light that caress, not treetops, now, but barren ground. It would be a kindness if keepers let him sleep one last time and let him never wake again. Or join him in that cage of glass that keeps him far away and yet so near to gentle touches, fingers running through his fur. Whisper sweet words of not-aloneness in his ear. The last animal on Earth that is not human lies dying. Do not let him die alone.
Copyright © February 2015, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.
My education during bereavement counseling included literature addressing nonfinite grief. Again, I am grateful for tools to cope with losses that cannot be measured, limited, prevented, or lived without continuing sorrow. Illimitable loss.