Thursday, 11 January 2007

Red in Tooth and Claw

I am currently reading Vicki Feaver's Book of Blood. I enjoy Feaver's poetry a lot, she has a great way with words, using a lot if subtle internal rhyme. However along with John Burnside another excellent Scottish poet, she shows a tendency to sense badness or evil in nature, sort of summed up in the cliched phrase 'Red in Tooth and Claw'. I find this a disturbing and inaccurate view to take, which inspired me to write the poem below.

Red in Tooth and Claw

Nature is darkly unknowable
Wildnerness is wild, untameable
Tigers attack, strike fear into hearts.

I would not live with grizzly bears
but nor would I pretend
essential evil in nature.

We are the ones who destroy our own nests
we are the ones who kill for fun
We are the ones with the reddest teeth

the reddest claws.

Cliches for Poetry Thursday


richard pierce said...

Burn, baby, burn ! This is brilliant ! BB

Visual-Voice said...

I love it, we do have the reddest claws. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Bravo!!! Bravo!!! Excellent and cutting to the quick. You are great Crafty. :)

Anonymous said...

and the sharpest minds, as evidenced here in your poem.

Anonymous said...

Hi Crafty,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my poem. I'll have to take that up with Brian though.

Do you think that we all have red claws?

Sassy Dewy


rel said...

Is it genetic?
Is it our destiny?
Is it doom we crave?
What end for us but red in tooth and claw?
Nicely percieved and written.

Deb said...

I like reading your debate with /retort to Burnside (Feaver? is Burnside a pen name?)

And I too think our claws are the most red. And that we are sometimes capable of describing that red in immeasurable detail and nuance.

Thanks for the poem and the links...

Anonymous said...

Very true and great job you did. It goes well with the one my husband wrote, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for all your comments. Deb your comment confused me but then I looked at my post again and saw that I had inadvertently lost some of it in the publishing process. Vicki Feaver and John Burnside are two Scottish poets with a dark attitude to nature. I've corrected the text and hope to add the links soon!

Dewy - I don't think that as individuals we all have red claws but as a species we definitely do..

Remiman - is it doom we crave? Were you reading my mind - I almost put that line in the poem!!

Ma yes it does go with your husbands poem, I thought that as soon as I read his!

Anonymous said...

That is so true!

I saw that Timothy Treadwell film too. Disturbing.

Anonymous said...

That is so true!

I saw that Timothy Treadwell film too. Disturbing.

Catherine said...

You've done pretty well with that cliche. I need to look out Vicki Feaver and John Burnside. I like Kathleen Jamie a lot - she has lovely nature writing without the dark attitude

jedimerc said...

Great piece and some solid imagery... I also like the transition from 'nature' to our 'nature'. And a sad fact of our nature too.

Tammy Brierly said...

Sooo true...brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Like the last 2 stanzas. They really sing.

Anonymous said...

great poem and the message it holds is too true

Jon said...

I like the very simple and direct approach you took with this. No circling around. No feints. Nice job.

Clockworkchris said...

quick and to the point and so true-the ending brings it all together and states a lesson I have been writing about and trying to explain to someone for weeks-we are in control of ourselfs; thoughts, words, and actions.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for visitng and commenting!

My backyard - yes the film about Timothy Treadwell was very disturbing, i think he was misguided (at best) to try living with the grizzlies like that.

Catherine I like Kathleen Jamie's nature poetry too.

Emily said...

Such an interesting poem. I don't think I've ever thought of nature having the potential to be inherently evil. Very thought provoking...