Quorum Sensing

a_Quorum-Sensing

— Deborah Kennedy

Quorum Sensing: a biological phenomenon, in which many species require a critical population level to cooperate and make intelligent group decisions.

Sinew strung taut
no eye can see the lines
spun of downy feathers
leathery tendons knit the flock into one.
Ten thousand Auks
black and white deco sharp.
Chaplin waddle over rocks
flying in underwater arcs.
Clucking through the day
we must eat now, we must eat now
we must go now, we must go.
Are you there? I am here.

The sailors with broad hands
hardened by years of hauling ropes
pressed North, to stone islands in the inky sea
herded awkward Auks to rocky holding pens.
The sailors labored, year by year
their backs slick with sweat
they twisted necks
plucked their fingers raw,
boots slipping on red rock.
Auks, still cried softly through the day,
through the night,
Are you there? I am here.
Are we all here? All here?

No, said the sailors.
No, shredded the sinews
No, snapped the tendons
No, sapped the will of the wings.
Hammered a hole in hearts
that once beat as one.
Search through the tangled cord
twisted, sheared and shredded.
Dense piles of frayed thread
stretch to the horizon.

Spin a cord of fire across this dark sea
find that burning yes again.
 

One thought on “Quorum Sensing

  1. WOW!! This is seriously gorgeous stuff, Deborah! This environmental poem has been rendered so beautifully with sublime imagery and refined language that it is nothing less than a fable–the stuff of dragons and knights! The auks depicted here ("hearts that beat as one") take on a mythical quality, much like that of a magical, mystical creature, and their slaughter is as terrible a feat as the killing of the last dragon.

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