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Elegy to the Great Auk

By: Yuan Chingming

Eldey Island. 3 July 1844. Two Iceland fishermen

Caught and killed two birds, while a third used

His boots to trample their half-hatched egg into pieces

 

That’s the inhuman end of a whole species used to be

Called Penguin. The feathered couple was much

More loyal to each other than any human marriage

Their kind had survived last ice age, flying gracefully

 

Everywhere, in particular along Newfoundland coasts

Helping sailors to escape from dangers, but now they

Are totally forgotten, except in a little poem like this    

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, the Naji Naaman's Literary Prize 2018, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1,449 others worldwide.  

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