THE ARK OF MERCY
(written for actress Gretchen Wyler to celebrate the
12th Anniversary of the Ark Trust, a California based
Animal Rights organization.)
In the sacredness of life,
meaning embraces the language of deeds.
But you speak a jargon of cruelty and death
and your language is
rabbit with acid-blinded eyes,
bull tormented for trivial manhood,
wolf ski-dooed into helplessness,
remnants of cow or cow’s child, a calf
pieces of chicken, and pig, and fish,
and a memory: the genocide of buffalo.
If your madness must be
the unreachable mystery it is,
your meaning remains that life itself
must suffer to die in the hands of your will
for science, for food, for pleasure.
We live. We do not govern the wisdom we learn.
We know everything of nothing
and too little the divinity of compassion.
We kill, but ask no reason.
So speak no more the reasons of logic,
but of truth to the essence of fire,
or time is ending and your goddess,
the earth, is bleeding fatal wounds.
Know that I despise beyond words what you do,
and fear I could be demented like you,
and know we shall die into undiluted silence,
no matter my questions and your unmoveable answer.
I love, with all my spirit and flesh,
the animals you burn alive. My love is made
of wonder and mercy, but you are not merciful.
I cannot speak a greater love that forgives you.
And so to dream:
You undo the deeds of your barbarous heart
You draw the blood of all who live into your blood,
and, kin with every animal, you sail the Ark of mercy,
and speak a meaning that knows more than silence,
the flesh of your heart.
James Strecker, 1998