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May 29, 2023

Animal Counsel

By Julian O. Long

Animal Counsel
homage to Loren Eiseley

Someday soon
I’m going off with the weather
and not come back. You know
how the sky turns steely and you
hear snowclouds stop.

Arctic winter surely herds
the continents, muskeg too
finding its own heat from under,
Inuit say the first woman
drew the animals out of a hole in the ice.
Fossil genesis—what speaks in animal
counsel curing in bog iron? Warm speech
maybe, yeasty and garrulous: call it the
heart of the animal.

On the way I’ll howl with the pack,
hunt stringy caribou down to the blood
flukes and scrimshaws. Tundra has its
own heat too, they say, kennings from
under. Some things nothing can kill,
lichen, peat moss, coyote stubborn,
at core mass some jubilance
warms them; they go on talking—

Call it the heart of the animal.

Article © Julian O. Long. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-04-24
Image(s) are public domain.
1 Reader Comments
Pamela Sumners
10:16:25 AM
Brother Julian, I love this!
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