a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
We should bow deeply before the orchid and the snail
…before the monarch butterfly and the magnolia tree.
The feeling of respect for all species will help us
recognize the noblest nature in ourselves. – Nhat Hanh
From filthy bilges of merchant ships
came furry invaders that gorged
their bellies with raw natives,
overran the islands.
Human gods later brought wolfsnails
to “biocontrol” other island creatures
as if using one life to kill another
were sanctified, but
the wolfsnails disobeyed
the human gods and slayed
scores of smaller natives.
Human gods picked favorites
among the living, like chameleons as pets,
that had huge appetites for little natives.
Loss of forest vegetation by human’s
pigs and goats drove native survivors
to the safety of mountain trees, a banishment
of innocence by entitlement.
The last survivor of his tribe, kept alive
in a lab fourteen years, Lonely George
has died, the last Hawaiian tree snail
of Achatinella apexfulva, one of the
first species discovered on the islands.
Three-fourths of snail species in Hawaii
are now extinct, forever dead. Ten remaining
species are expected to join George this decade,
a doomsday assembly line. Human gods may be unconcerned
by yet another foreigner’s death until they realize
tree snails control fungal abundance and diversity,
vital necessities. But, survival of the gods would require
they look away from their own needs first.