She was the last one.
Last of her kind.
Martha never knew how to test her wings.
Nor that she was wild.
She might have envied pigeons if she had known a bird.
But she didn't know any.
She was born alone in a Brookfield Zoo and moved
to the Cincinnati Zoo later in her life.
Martha bore the undignified privilege of having
millions of human eyes peering at her during her lifetime.
The effect may have been considerable
and quite cumulative for one small Passenger Pigeon.
Especially for one who was the last of her kind.
Back in the 1860's the skies of Ontario Canada
were filled with Passenger Pigeons.
They massed at near 3.7 billion.
Forty years later, only a few Passenger Pigeons
were ever reported or observed.
What wanton useless slaughter.
They were culled by the thousands at a time.
In her last solitary days, Martha's fragile feathers
and wings slackened and drooped as she
was seen to tremble in her cage.
Birds are not meant to be by themselves.
They are social animals.
She died September 1, 1914 and her body was preserved.
The last of her kind.
A kind of sample.
Now they want to resurrect Martha.
Bring her back like the great woolly mammoth
by using her DNA.
They did not really ask her permission.
I wonder how will she feel about this?
Will she be forgiving like Christ?
Or will she remember, in her moments of reanimation,
her past life, and all of those long years of loneliness
in the lifeless thick glass cage?
Martha deserves much better than that.
Copyright 11/25/2014 November 25, 2014 All Rights Are Reserved By This Author
Melissa A Howells/Meloo/straight from her Tilt-a-World
this is truth, not fiction, my reaction to a scientific article I read
Footnote: The advent of trains and huge settler appetites brought an end to this wondrous bird.
It used to take "three days for theses birds to pass as they darkened the sky."
There is now a statue of the once abundant Carrier Pigeon in Ohio at an Audubon
Society Center near where the last WILD bird was shot coincidentally in the same
year that Martha perished, 1914. This is in Columbus Ohio.
There is a movie about birds that have perished it is called THE LOST BIRDS PROJECT.
A sculptor and activist(in my opinion) Todd McGrain, has cast in bronze these five
extinct birds in all...The Giant Auk, The Passenger Pigeon, The Carolina
Parakeet, the Heath Hen and the Labrador Duck. He was inspired to sculpt theses birds and
put them in permanent installations at or near the last spots were they were last seen
so that we will always remember them.
The Passenger Pigeon in particular is a symbol of the fragility of what has been lost
forever to us in nature and cannot be returned. And you see in the film that the people
who have lost The Giant Auk feel much the same about that wondrous bird. The vision of
the large black solitary Auk standing sentry on an island over the ocean is a sobering
sight indeed. It is a moving film. Anyway, I saw this movie after I had written this poem.
2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the last Passenger Pigeon.
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