Poems by Michael Shorb

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Coal Mine Canaries

by Michael Shorb

From Canary Fall 2012

In memoriam (1943-2012)

Michael Shorb lived in San Francisco, California, for many years. He enjoyed the city's "buzz" of the detritus of many peoples' lives, the poor and the wealthy, in parks, on the streets, in sun and fog.  He and his wife Judith hiked the many trails of the city.  Michael died in August.

We are all this thick-
armed man covered in soot,
placing nature in his
cage as he descends,
miles into the darkening
shaft of our prospects,
now the honey bee is enlisted
to our cause, billions
vanished without trace
or clue, bearing with them
the keys to pollination,
something gone wrong
in the intricate corridors
of seeds and blossoms,
next the plankton
roots that rock
the cradle of the seas,
the icy arctic walls holding
back a methane storm,
the salt water hordes
massing at the granite
gates where we make
our stand, man
the miner,
man the harvester,
man more vulnerable
than he dreams.

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