I measure every Grief I meet by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet

With narrow, probing, eyes – 

I wonder if It weighs like Mine – 

Or has an Easier size.


I wonder if They bore it long – 

Or did it just begin – 

I could not tell the Date of Mine – 

It feels so old a pain – 

I wonder if it hurts to live – 

And if They have to try – 

And whether – could They choose between – 

It would not be – to die – 


I note that Some – gone patient long – 

At length, renew their smile – 

An imitation of a Light

That has so little Oil – 

I wonder if when Years have piled – 

Some Thousands – on the Harm – 

That hurt them early – such a lapse

Could give them any Balm – 


Or would they go on aching still

Through Centuries of Nerve – 

Enlightened to a larger Pain – 

In Contrast with the Love – 

The Grieved – are many – I am told – 

There is the various Cause – 

Death – is but one – and comes but once – 

And only nails the eyes – 

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold – 

A sort they call "Despair" – 

There's Banishment from native Eyes – 

In sight of Native Air – 


And though I may not guess the kind – 

Correctly – yet to me

A piercing Comfort it affords

In passing Calvary – 


To note the fashions – of the Cross – 

And how they're mostly worn – 

Still fascinated to presume

That Some – are like my own –

There’s a certain Slant of light by Emily Dickinson

There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons –

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

We can find no scar,

But internal difference,

Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –

‘Tis the Seal Despair –

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –

Shadows – hold their breath –

When it goes, ’tis like the Distance

On the look of Death –


In The Cave Of Lions by David Calcutt

You must go deep

You must go by way of river and rockface

Squeezing yourself through the earth’s eyeslit

You must go far

Where the walls dance their spirals in the flamelight

Where your shadow goes dancing before you

On the bones of the dead in the house of dreams

You must go sacred

And the gentle claws will strip away your name

Strip hair skin strip flesh from bone

You must go naked

To the utmost chamber where they wait to receive you

And their heads are not lifted they are bowed they are lowly

Two of them caressing

As your shadow dancing caresses them

And where your finger makes its mark

There the lifeblood beats

There they spring forward out of their landscape

Where the hooves drum ecstatic

Where the world roars.



The Buffalo by Mike Alma

As old as I am,

I can remember nothing else,

But it wasn’t always like this.

As bold as I was,

I could never challenge them …

Their long, silver-barrelled sticks –

Spurting fire –

Left us painting the plains,

In our blood –

Many thousand bodies

Lying still as the rocks,

While many more

Uselessly paw the sky –

A sky that turns red

Behind their fading eyes …

Cloven hooves

No longer raising the dust

In storms immense …

No more watching horizons disappear –

Sunset fading before the sun, itself,

Goes down,

The herd roaming where it will,

Way beyond horizons,

Of choice …

Soon, there won’t even be one,

As old as I, to remember

The tales of our magnificence …

It wasn’t always like this –



An Elephant Never Forgets by David Barber

I am an orphan Elephant child,

they found me wandering in the wild.

alone, confused and terrified.

I was with my mother when she died.

She fell, ripped the air with a roar

shuddered a sigh and was no more.

They took from me with rifle gun

the one who sheltered me from sun,

who guarded me with all her might,

and kept me safe all through the night,

my earth mother my guiding light.

Then they came, in plundering cries

with white gold gleam, in frenzied eyes,

I ran and hid and watched afraid

and saw the wielding, flash of blade

cut her deep, wide open flayed.

They left her there, for those that fly

encircling above in the sky,

left me there lost, wandering wild

a helpless lone Elephant child.

But kind ones came and found me there,

who kept me safe and gave me care.

I’m still afraid, can’t quite trust yet,

the past haunts me, I can’t forget.




RESTLESS BONES curated and published by ELAINE C CHRISTIE and edited by JACQUI ROWE

An anthology of poetry about the natural world and its decline.  A collective voice for the voiceless.  With poetry from Virginia McKenna, Born Free’s poet in residence Richard Bonfield, famous quotations, old favourites, contemporary poets, rescue dog centre, Animal Liberation Front  also including beautiful fantasy art from Josephine Wall and edited by Jacqui Rowe.

All funds from the book go to Born Free USA to fight the fur trade.

Price £7.00 plus £1.80 postage  Available from http://www.restlessbones.co.uk