Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Letter to Lyuba

Were you tired Lyuba, in need of rest,
the smallest of the mammoth herd, eyes set
on summer pastures far across the steppe?
Did you slide in the river mud and call
in panic for your mother’s help the day
you died? Was she desperate to free you?

Siberia’s short summer released you
from four hundred millenniums of rest.
Yuri Khudi discovered you that day
but feared the scent of underworld and set
a southern course. Left you behind, to call
a friend about the mammoth from the steppe.

While he was away Lyuba the steppe
gave you to another, who carried you
to Novyy Port to sell.  You won’t recall
your long wait by the store. No peaceful rest
for a baby snapped by cell phones and set
upon by dogs who chewed your ear that day.

Khudi saved you again that very day.
He sent your frozen carcass from the steppe,
to expert hands at Salekhard and set
the science world alight with news of you.
They stole your secrets, did they steal your rest
with their studies? I hope you don’t recall.

You are famous now Lyuba.  They called
you after Yuri Khudi’s wife.  These days
a multitude of people see you rest
in your showcase.  They crane their necks and step
on toes to marvel at one glimpse of you.
The past is here but is the future set?

Will mammoth live again? The scene is set
to make it so. Science can now recall
three quarters of your DNA. Will you
rise to your feet again one future day
to amble through the grasses of the steppe
or be forever sealed in time to rest?

And, set at large one momentous day,
would some instinctive recall of the steppe
cause you to mourn the silence of your rest?

© Jan Harris

Russian mammoth remains give glimmer of hope for cloning

Jan Harris lives in Nottinghamshire and writes poetry, flash fiction and short stories.  Her work has appeared in 14 Magazine, nth Position, Popshot, Mslexia and other places.