Survival of Species

Survival of Species
by Halifax
In the animal kingdom
predators pick off the weak
the old, the young, the infirmed.
We are not animals
that much is true enough to say
first because we are not predators
we take down the strongest,
the trophy, the most beautiful
making our meekness strength
We aren’t herbivores either
we don’t graze
we harvest the field
pick seeds based on taste alone
treating ourselves as guests
we don’t cache food
we store our time
making more as needed
when the surplus is exhausted
a sign we have moved on
taking our place with us
from one moment to another
we are exceptional space craft
designed by the smallest things
so small they fit within sounds
we are meant to take
but not give back
we are meant to crash
we are designed to fail
on some other world
in the space between words
where we have no choice
between seeds and animals
where we melt with welcome
parsed by radiation into husks
left behind where we are
meant to be at long last

everywhere at once
with unlimited room
in an empty schedule
forever out of time

0 thoughts on “Survival of Species

  1. Thank you Mr. Cloyd. Care to elucidate on what makes it so?
    See, I aim to please. It was a shot in the dark and I could use sure use some reconnoiter if I ever am to hit the mark again.

    1. The thing I like about this poem is its tension. On the one hand, it’s a poem about life on the grandscale. But not just human life as the beginning stanza suggests. To live is to exploit other life. Your poem tells us that we are not predators, and yet “we take down the strongest.” What would that make us then? Parasites. But not only are we parasites, we have parasites. We are “spacecraft” sort of engineered by parasites. To me, that is pretty neat concept.
      On the other hand, we possess a manufactured flaw as well, i.e. we die. This is reminescent of Eliot’s line “In our beginning is our end.” So not only is this poem about life, but it is about death as well.
      Does this help?

  2. Instructions for a reading:
    1) The invisible phrases in ‘drag over’ are intended to be pronounced by hecklers in the crowd during the reading.
    2) The readers last stanza is read with pauses between the lines with the hecklers responding to each line with the lines from their last stanza~ so ex:”where we melt with welcome…everywhere at once”. 3) Then the reader reads their last stanza again uninterrupted.
    4) The reader then reads the hecklers last stanza with the hecklers (like colliding soliloquies become a chorus), as an ending stanza/rebuttal to the poem.
    5) Ignore these instructions and read it however you want.

    1. You’re ruining my intentional omission Quasi. Thank you. I was trying to leave it at #5…
      If anyone actually uses this guide in a public pronouncement let me know how it works out for you. I have yet to perform it so.

Leave a Reply