Love and extinction

An amazing true story, via poet Kimiko Hahn and Daily Poetry. Hahn's new book, Toxic Flora, was inspired by science stories in The New York Times

Xenicus Longipes

The four known species of bush wren in New Zealand
are, by now, endangered or extinct.
Possessing trifling tails and wings, none fly far—
instead they hop and dart
in whatever undergrowth scrapes the landscape.
Those on Cook Strait's margin of rock
entirely lost the capacity for flight
and in 1894 were destroyed not by farmers,
hunters, pet traders, rats, disease,
natural disaster or want of food—
but by Tibbles, the lighthouse keeper's cat.
Oh, what we think we need to survive kills others:
I have consuming need for my beloved, he knows—
and I hope he is not sorry.

I like the surprise at the end — adds a new twist to the sadness of the true story, doesn't it?  Gives the often-desperate nature of human love a new dimension. 

Here's a picture of the late, lamented avian mice of the poem…

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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