Thursday, 1 August 2013

California, Ole Grizzly Remembered

I fell in love with California and wrote several poems on my first and only visit there in 1999. I would love to return, especially to San Francisco, but my prostate cancer makes that very unlikely, not least due to the exorbitant cost of travel insurance. Moreover, I have since incurred a blood clot (now dispersed) in the course of treatment for a bad fall so remain vulnerable to DVT. Even so, I'll never say never...

The California grizzly bear was designated official State Animal in 1953 - more than 30 years after the last one was shot. The grizzly bear is also honored on the California state flag.

Photo: Grizzly bear (taken from Internet)

Before the grizzly bear was exterminated in California, this magnificent animal thrived in the great valleys and low mountains. Sadly, the grizzly would not retreat from advancing civilization, killing livestock and interfering with settlements. Apparently, it took less than 75 years after the discovery of gold to track down and kill every grizzly bear in California.

California sunshine
opens up my heart, like petals
of a glorious summer rose;
a poem grows, proud and free
like Bear all around
on streets, in trees, among hills
that surround

If in a misty rainfall,
all words disappears, its presence
a bitter-sweet comfort still
on California’s ears like songs
about pioneers risking all,
now inspiring us to plant poems,
in home soil

Through sunshine, mist
and rain, our seasons turn again,
yet may summer roses
ease even the loneliest pain,
its poems, oh, so  proud
and free, celebrating Ole Grizzly
in gold country

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2015

[Note : Slightly revised (2013) from an earlier version that appears under the title 'Days of Bear and Roses' in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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