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Monday, 25 February 2019

POEMS FOR THE PLANET - ‘Our little brown rat’

‘Our little brown rat’

Ever heard of Melomys rubicola,
late of Bramble Cay? Ever heard, even, 
of Bramble Cay?
Look it up. 

Pretty name, don’t you think? 
for a death-trap. This tiny scrap of sand
held together by grass 
has hit the headlines
because
Melomys rubicola, a tiny rat
which lived only there
is now formally listed as 
the first mammal to die out
through anthropogenic
climate change. 

We did this.

Or rather, we did nothing.
Oh, there was a plan – there’s been a plan
for a decade now, to save
the Bramble Cay melomys – 
but 
the island is very small
the animal is very small 
          (and a rat, anyway)
and the wave that washed the last one 
out to sea, possibly before 2014, 
just an ordinary wave
          far too small for surfing.

So no-one bothered. 

Bramble Cay will probably be gone, too,
before long. A few years, and it will swoon
into the warm arms of the rising Pacific
with hardly a sigh.

How long before
we are all being drowned by inaction?

© Mandy Macdonald

Bramble Cay melomys: Climate change-ravaged rodent listed as extinct


Mandy's latest published poems are about vegetables (Vaster than Empires, Grey Hen Press), sex (The Ramingo's Porch  #4), and – most important of all – climate change (Multiverse, Shoreline of Infinity).

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