Posted tagged ‘When Hibernation Turns to R.E.M.’

The Winter of Dreaming Bears

January 18, 2015


The Winter of Dreaming Bears

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

Bears always dream at least a little
of grubs,
but this was a winter of
false starts, faked ends,
and the slips from freeze to thaw,
from thaw to bone
the drips that sharpened into ice picks, then melted
to mud-dulled pools, unmanacled
the bears from their annual
mummification, nudged them
into a snail’s swim, where their ursine minds churned,
overturning remembered stones, snouts
salivating, paws miming a scratch
for those whose burrows they could surely feel
in their fur.

While the grubs, also disturbed
by the fits and starts of
damp, stayed far
from bear furrows, funneled deep
into earth and root–though neither did these sleep,
as trees upended by wind and mud mooned
the mountainsides, discs of rootball
sheared—moving the grubs, in a mote
of wriggle, to dream too,

Only the grubs–they dreamed
of the dead; a corpse–be it rotted wood
or bird or mammal–a kind of copse to them, their homeland, godhead,
creating Brahma–

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

for the dreams of bears do not only
house grubs, the hub
of their universe,
but apples whose rounds shine nearly
within their reach, skies that stretch beyond it;
the dreams of bears smelling
of stars and musk, desire and
bared earth, the dreams of bears,
like so many, following the steps
of a dark, warm, gambol.


A freshly written poem (I’ll call it a draft of sorts only because it’s quite new and I’m still editing it) for Kerry O’Connor’s wonderful prompt on With Real Toads to write a version of a chosen title.  In this case, the title I used was The ________ of Dreaming _________ (from The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moer.) (I’m afraid to confess I haven’t read the book.) 

The watercolor above is by Jason Martin.  (Unfortunately, my reproduction of it is a little askew, but it’s a very cool painting.)  

PS I have edited since first posting.