Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unfound ~ Joey Frances

The last Great Auk in Britain
(Welsh pen gwyn, white head,
White Chief) now dead,
St Kilda eighteenforty
Three men caught a great garefowl
For its pretty little wings and bound it
Three days, then for nothing
Beat it to death – being a
Witch – with sticks
Because it had brought a storm.

Third of July eighteenfortyfour
Fled from the Geirfuglasker
Their Atlantis volcano sunk
Great Auk Rock, to Eldey, jut
Cut block up straight from sea,
Just off the Icelandic coast:
The very last Geirfugle
Laying one egg on bare rock
Ambushed as a collector’s specimen
To be quietly stuffed and stored,
But first erupts a comic violent chase
Her and mate strangled on a cliff edge
Their egg shattered by a seaman’s boot.

Extinct the name casually transmigrated
No bother no loss

(Which is why, if we are to save a species
We must abandon our superstitions
And our meat, be gentle, and eat cabbage
In the dark and die the empty deaths
We’ll die anyway,
No gods no witches)

Joey Frances has studied, written and read poetry in Cambridge and now Manchester, where he has just completed a modern literature MA. His poetry has previously appeared in the Generic Greeting Collective Zone #1, and Manchester No Spy Zone anthology. He is a member of the Generic Greeting Collective.

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