Poem of the week : Pangolin


You are more than a petition.
More than a poem commissioned
to speak flowery of impending nothingness.
You want nothing more than to be left alone.
We are similar.

You are good and blind.
We are just not very good.
Your black market body, sisters
and brothers iron-bound, strange ulcers
in their bellies.

Your gilded armour, fit for a Tsar,
sought more than any tusk or tiger fur.
Did you not once roam, a God of Asia,
to peel the bark of ancient columns under
clouds of honey?

A fallen acorn, wise and foetal.
Lions, perplexed – is a stone?
Then night comes and you roll away
down plains until the land sprouts
scrapers and motorways.

I implore you, Pangolin – seek out your savannas.
Take in the orange-juice sun and insects per annum.
We have decided to obliterate Earth
one tiresome annihilation at a time.
We are stubborn as wood.

Our ancestors’ advances have burst us
like an eardrum in subzero air. Fresh
from battlefields of data, we can
only think to sign our names and pass it on.
You must be spent.

Salt of the Earth, Pangolin, your leg stuck
in the mouth of a medicine man. Go hide
in tree hollows, down tunnel kingdoms.
Your long sleep is fast approaching.
Soon the dirt will sook at your bones.

Our ability see it all take root as a song
not yet written, and do nothing,
carries its own desolation.
Pangolin, the river of starlight above
has us both governed in its currents.



David Ross Linklater is a poet from Balintore in Easter Ross. His first pamphlet Ribbons & Rust: Poetry from a Room was self-published in 2014 and gave a nostalgic look at how the land and the concept of home intercept each other. His most recent pamphlet Black Box was published with Speculative Books in 2018. A journey of contrasts between his life and observations in the city to the landscapes of his hometown. David was shortlisted for the 2020 Edwin Morgan Award.


Comments (1)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. babs nicgriogair says:

    Timely and brilliant. Thank you!

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.