Streaming And Creeping In The Gathering Darkness

WilliamStafford Streaming and creeping in the gathering darknessAmerican poet William Stafford (1914-1993) wrote a poem about a gathering of the gone or endangered species of the earth.

Roll Call

Red Wolf came, and Passenger Pigeon,
the Dodo Bird, all the gone or endangered
came and crowded around in a circle,
the Bison, the Irish Elk, they waited
silent, the Great White Bear, fluid and strong,
sliding from the sea, streaming and creeping
in the gathering darkness, nose down,
bowing to earth its tapered head,
where the Black-footed Ferret, paws folded,
stood in the center surveying the multitude
and spoke for us all: “Dearly beloved,” it said.

Red Wolf. Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The IUCN Red List reports the red wolf as critically endangered. It was extinct in the wild, but recently reintroduced in the United States.

passenger pigeon. Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

They say there were once as many as 3 billion passenger pigeons. Audubon Magazine reports that the passenger pigeon was hunted into extinction by 1914.

dodo bird. Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The scientists say the dodo became extinct around 1690. The animals that Europeans brought to the dodo’s habitat had a taste for dodo eggs.

American bison. Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The bison came close to extinction in the 19th century, but is now merely “near threatened.”

Irish-Elk-Skeleton. Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The Irish Elk vanished around 7,700 years ago.

polar-bear-hero Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The polar bear is currently listed as vulnerable, as the future size and quality of its habitat is uncertain.

black-footed-ferret Streaming and creeping in the gathering darkness

The black-footed ferret is listed as endangered, making a comeback from being extinct in the wild.

The music is a portion of the Irish tune “Limerick’s Lamentation,” performed by Patrick Berry.

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