Poems by Gail Rudd Entrekin

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Blue Whales

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary December 2008

Gail lives in a small valley on an even smaller wooded hill amid the Coastal Range east of San Francisco Bay in the San Pablo Bay watershed just above San Pablo Creek.

Blue whales are out there somewhere,
six thousand of the hundreds of thousands
that once roamed the planet's seas.
Now separated from each other
by thousands of miles, they moan their loneliness
four octaves below middle C, so low, so slow,
we humans cannot even hear. But on our ocean liners
and in our lighthouse kitchens, the cutlery jangles on the table,
the glass pane vibrates in its frame, and we know
something nearby is crying out in need.
Two thousand miles away, they can be heard
and answered, the loudest sound made by a living thing,
and we don't know what it says, but only that,
speeded up ten times, what we hear is a long, blue,
unearthly note, a gurgle so deep
we slip down into our own lostness,
grateful that they are carrying for us
something bigger than we could hold.




Broken

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary Winter 2012-13

"Too many things are happening for even big hearts to hold."
– Anne Sexton

Broken hearts, broken bones, broken vows, promises, records,
broken noses, broken dreams, broken arrows, broken
bottles in the alley where the street guy throws his anger,
broken oil tank on the Valdez, broken wings, broken feathers,
black seas, rising seas, broken ice shelf, white bears falling
in the ocean, broken migration routes, swimming bears,
stranded elk, wrong side of the highway, wrong side
of the dam, broken salmon stair, broken fishermen,
dying towns, giving up, giving in, broken immune systems,
cancer cancer cancer, diabetes, new diseases, polyurethane
melting in the sun, give it to the kids to drink, microwave it
into broken eggs, fork them up, broken bird eggs
where the acid rain, broken atoms rushing fusion
reactions long tube blowing, broken watch
throw it in the basket, leave it
with the other trash, buy
another buy another
buy another –




Leave Taking

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary Spring 2014

Everywhere the planet
is pulling in her generous green
folding it up forever in the vast trunk
of history. She is taking down the curtains
of rain and giving them away to someone
in another dimension who will treat
them gently. She is rolling up
the atmosphere with its cigarette holes
and moth-eaten diatribes and when
she has packed her bags and slammed
the door and left us looking at each other
in silent shame, like bad children,
we will say, We didnít do it.
It was someone else.




Respiring

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary Spring 2017

The planet moves ponderously, turning me
into the sun my body craves, opens to receive
its heat. I breathe in air that’s passed perhaps
through the lungs of a neighbor’s dog,
the postman, the Vietnamese women at the nail salon
who breathe these atoms in and out. Everyone
who’s ever lived has taken in, used up, exhaled
reconfigured the particles that make this air.
I fill my lungs, take what I breathe into my blood,
sigh out the other parts for the maple tree,
sycamore, rhododendron, who wait
for my rejected molecules, green up, flower
or color or seed, and blow back the parts
I need.




Something Coming

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary Fall 2010

We are beginning to understand something
of what is coming, to go beyond sensing a shadow
in the woods watching us, and to see it take shape,
see it coming toward us across a field, zigzagging
as it does, now standing idle and watching the sky,
now heading directly for us at a trot. And realizing
that we are seen, that it will find us no matter
what we do, we are slowing down.
                                                                We are
standing very still hoping to blend with the waving
greens of this raw springtime, to stay upwind
of it as warmer breezes pick up and buffet the leaves,
the grasses, tossing everything in a moving salad
of life; we sway on our legs, trying to move with the air
that surrounds us, and we stop thinking of what is around
the next bend in the path, stop planning our next
escape route, and begin to merge with the moment;
we have slipped into a painting by Van Gogh;
something is coming again across the fields and we
are open as sunflowers in full bloom
to these last moments on the earth.




The Gaia Theory

by Gail Rudd Entrekin

From Canary Spring 2015

Earth is a being. It shrinks and swells, rearranges its shores
nipping back on an island here, a cliff top there, subtracting
two yards of real estate from an Ohio yard, depositing that much
sand on Canadian shores. Shaking its skin like a wet dog, whole
forests tumble, winds lift, howl, spool, fling houses and cows
into neighbors’ pastures; lava burns to the surface, slips
down and across the roads, leaving its black trails; water
falls from the sky, some of it sinking deep under the surface
where it forms a tap-able layer; the rest, turning into a lighter,
thinner form, rises back up, clusters in myriad shapes and colors
around the planet, providing a blanket that holds it all in, prevents
invading heat from wrecking everything. And while this magic
is performed, this vast unfathomable system of checks and balances,
creatures made of the planet arise, respire, eat each other
and whatever else they fancy, fall back into the mulch.
And the planet, all this time, turns reliably, day upon night,
hurtles through infinite space, imperturbable, so far.




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