January 01, 2009

At this temperature...

According to Environment Canada, it was -38oC outside when I took Nanuq for his evening walk two nights ago.  It later dropped to -40oC.  As I walked, safely bundled in my winter clothes and returning to a nice, warm house, I thought about what shelter and survival means at -40oC...

Murderously Cold
Spruce burst with percussive force:
A thousand snapping snares.
Long cracks line once-mighty trunks;
Trees murdered by the cold.

Larvae of Dendroctonus:
in spruce bark they repose.
Cryogenic'ly preserved;
Swarms murdered by the cold.

Moose won't move from sheltered spruce:
The wolves can't track their prey.
Fat makes warmth.  There's none for heat;
Packs murdered by the cold.

Voles make tunnels 'neath the snow:
Their den's an iced white blanket;
Protected by the cold.

Men lie sleeping in the streets:
Wrapped in space-aged fleece.
Without a den for shelter,


Nemmy said...

I'd like to say I like your poem very much - but "like" seems like an inappropriate word. Hope you know what I mean tho. :)

Meandering Michael said...

Nope, I'm totally confused.

Unknown said...

Subnivean is such a beautiful word! I will share it with my class tomorrow. Thanks for the link.

Nemmy said...

Well, the ending kind of punches you in the gut. I know that's the point, so I like it... but saying I like it makes me feel like I don't get the gut-punch. I mean, who likes to be punched in the gut?

Meandering Michael said...

Ah, I see! Thanks!