For the bear who broke my fence

As you ready,
you trouble our leavings:
the forgotten feeder, the spilled seed.

Your hunger accretes
in the dark autumn air.
Urgent. Insatiable.

Hyperphagia, the scientists say.
You say eat. You say drink.
As you ready,

you dream cubs from
the world of spirit, from
the world of ancestors.

You dream their tiny bodies
blind and toothless, strange
to anyone but you, who might

cradle them all
with one careful paw.
As you ready, they wait.

They are not bear;
they are pre-bear.
Blastocysts, the scientists say:

fertilized eggs, fewer than
a hundred cells. Barely embryos.
They wait, suspended.

Only if you grow fat enough —
only if you can sustain their lives —
will they anchor in your womb.

Eat, then, and eat more. Drink.
Bid them begin,  as you ready:
All the bears that might be

as you sleep into
winter, dream cubs
into perfect flesh.

Keep them warm;
feed them well. Make
of them small wonders

who will meet the world
in spring, nebulous faces
alive with amazement,

their new, uncertain bodies
tumbling into dappled air,
their rounded ears and soft muzzles

sensing the earth being born again.



Photos are from the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minnesota, a rich repository of research and information about these magnificent animals.





  1. Oh, Cate – such clarity of compassion (accepting a bit of inconvenience) and a lesson on bear cub beginnings to boot! Truly enjoyed this, and have a new perspective on “pregnancy”!


    1. Glad you liked it, Jazz! The provisional pregnancy is cool, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice if humans, too, got pregnant only if they were fit to raise their children well?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this, Cate. I love the way you paint a picture of just one of the millions of struggles nature fights just to be. Sorry about your fence. 😉


    1. Thanks, Russ. Fences can be repaired; wildlife is irreplaceable. While I try to avoid creating bad habits by leaving out temptations, I’m a little glad those feeders contributed to the next (potential) generation of beautiful bears.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i enjoyed your beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing.


    1. You’re most welcome. I’m glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

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