The Winter of Dreaming Bears (Revised)

The Winter of Dreaming Bears

It began with grubs,
which the bears felt, instinctively,
were the hub
of the universe.

Bears always dream a little
of grubs,
but that was a winter of
false starts, faked ends,
and the slips from freeze to thaw,
from thaw to bone rawness, drip back
to ice pick, unmanacled the bears
from their annual
mummification, nudging them
to a snail’s swim,
where their ursine minds churned, overturning
remembered stones, and their paws mimed a scratch
for those whose burrows they could surely feel
within their fur,

while the grubs, also disturbed
by the fits of damp, stayed far
from bear furrows, dreaming as grubs do
of the dead; a corpse a kind of copse to them,
the old home place.

And the dead–-what did they dream of?
They will not say; we can’t surmise–-only
that when we walk a lace of snow pierced
by persistent grasses,
under a sky heavy with new powder
turning to sleet,
we want to believe that we animate
their wintering subconsciousness,

that they long for us in the rapids of their unmoving eyes
not as a bear longs for grubs,
but maybe as that same bear yearns
for the sun when it swathes the night sky,

its glints guiding us
as if we were ships dreaming
that we had sprouted feet
that could walk on water,

and as if we could walk that water,
into a direction that would take us far
from that starred bear, those dreaming dead,
those whom we in fact long for
in those times of cold and dark,
faked ends, false starts.
 
*****************
This is a somewhat changed revision of an earlier poem, this revised for Brendan’s prompt on Real Toads about dreams.  The earlier version may be found here.  The pic is mine; all rights reserved.

Explore posts in the same categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

14 Comments on “The Winter of Dreaming Bears (Revised)”

  1. kim881 Says:

    I love this! I love the title and the bears and grubs, especially the lines:
    ‘but that was a winter of
    false starts, faked ends,
    and the slips from freeze to thaw,
    from thaw to bone rawness, drip back
    to ice pick, unmanacled the bears
    from their annual
    mummification…’
    and
    ‘…the grubs, also disturbed
    by the fits of damp, stayed far
    from bear furrows, dreaming as grubs do
    of the dead; a corpse a kind of copse to them,
    the old home place’.


  2. Oh, I think my longish comment posted too soon, or maybe not at all. I’ll come back and have a look again later.

  3. sanaarizvi Says:

    “And the dead–-what did they dream of?” This particular stanza tugged at me.. making me wonder at the possibilities. Potent write, K 💜

  4. Brendan Says:

    How is that the poem comes most alive when half-asleep, or dreaming, or swooning in an otherworld of the dead? Maybe it speaks to the age of the medium, the resonance of caves, the cult of the cave-bear. As smart as this poem is, it also is raw and low; holds the torch just so so we can look about the low country of the dream. There’s also a gentleness and intimacy with these bears, streaming the things of the world through its mind of needs — grubs, paws, rooting, long sleep, raw waking. This revision is a sharper angle of the original, and as we have recurring dreams, so to recurring poems, I think … Have you ever read Ted Hughes’ “The Bear”? Another hibernating poem … Great poem Karin, thanks so for joining in.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Brendan, I like Ted Hughes very much and will look for that poem. I feel like I have read it but not for a really long time. Thanks for the really interesting prompt and getting me to revisit the poem. It was very interesting to me how it changed as I started re-writing as I thought at first, I would just tighten it. All best, k.

  5. Kerry Says:

    Karin, reading this extraordinarily good piece of writing makes me realize how much I have missed your voice, your calm and skillful way of drawing out a line, of weaving thought through imagery.
    I love your bear, your grubs thinking of dining on the dead, and the dead beneath our feet, consciously dreaming our passing by.
    It is all so profoundly beautiful.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thank you very much, Kerry. I have been very busy and a bit low, but I have just finished a short book that I hope to publish soon, and will try to get a copy to you. I don’t know if I will have an electronic version. It is called Momoir, Maybe (about my mother.) I really enjoyed working on this poem again and hope I can get back into more regular poem-writing. k.

      • grapeling Says:

        I too miss your voice. A brilliant pen: wise and if not mordant, then wry; tender and sad but not maudlin.

        Bears hibernation patterns are disturbed by the fits of damp come too soon. As are our patterns, and what is to follow is perhaps good only for those grubs ~


  6. Ah, this is beautiful in its imagery, its metaphors, its rawness and its structure. The bear dreams reflect a synergy of nature with life.

    “not as a bear longs for grubs,/but maybe as that same bear yearns/for the sun when it swathes the night sky”: The longing is well encapsulated in this verse. Such delightful reading, as the words flow dream-like with all their vivid generosity.

    -HA

  7. MrsBednar Says:

    love the idea of grubs thinking of death as bears seek out the grubs to eat… and I’ve heard of false starts but find intriguing “faked ends”. The drawing is very endearing as well.


  8. What a beautiful poem, Karin! I love

    ‘lace of snow pierced
    by persistent grasses,
    under a sky heavy with new powder
    turning to sleet,
    we want to believe that we animate
    their wintering subconsciousness,’

    and the dreamlike quality of:

    ‘its glints guiding us
    as if we were ships dreaming
    that we had sprouted feet
    that could walk on water,’


  9. This may be my all-time favourite of yours, Karin. I love it from first line to last, the dreaming bears and grubs, the faked ends, false starts. Just wonderful!


  10. This is just wonderful, Karin. I started to read it last night, and saw that I was too tired to do it justice, so I saved it. So glad I did, so I could savor and follow where it led. I hope you’ll share regularly. I love your voice.


I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: