- Books, Literature, and Writing
'Raw Nature': Response to Genna East's Poetry Challenge + Surviving Hardships & Animal/Human Empathy
In http://gennaeast.hubpages.com/hub/Of-the-Shadow-and-the-Gray-A-Poetry-Challenge, Genna has come up with an unusual gem of a challenge. We are asked to watch two video clips, with a linking theme, then do as follows:
‘Write a poem about elements within both videos that capture your imagination. You may use any style of poetry -- Haiku, rhyme, free verse or prose -- whatever you wish. This is a blank canvass with which you can create words and imagery from wherever this visual journey takes you. The only caveat is that the poem cannot exceed eighty words in length.’
The clips are taken from ‘The Grey’ and ‘The Shadow’, neither of which I have seen before, both of which portray man versus wolves. The setting for both is an expanse of forest under deep snow, where survival would not be possible for long without shelter and warmth.
Excited at the prospect of tackling something different, something more challenging, I wondered in which direction I should flex my writing muscles. There was so much visual impact, so many images to blast the senses. I went with what caught my imagination most.
What gripped me were the close-ups of face and eyes, prompting one to wonder what was going on behind the outward stare, behind the fear, the despair, the aggression, of both men and beasts. What was in their thoughts? Where would their instincts take them? What would we do in conflict, with man or beast?
I considered the basic instinct of fight or flight as well as the similarities of animal and man; instinctive fear, concern, protection, survival - and understanding.
You will find my poem beneath the wolf.
Callous crystal hostility, frozen fronds of frailty, last life of lingering souls.
Intricate knot of minds and hearts, woven in a mutual dilemma.
Inevitability of impending death, whether reflex of fight or flight;
A lone choice.
Fight for one more staggered step; fight for benefit of the pack;
Fight for warmth, for loved ones far; fight for souls’ empathic link.
One would choose the grey of death.
One would choose shadow, warmth and breath.
(77 words incl title)
Bleak & Frozen; Dangerous & Deadly
How many of you know how to survive in such situations? I’m talking serious survival for days, maybe months or even years.
We can learn survival techniques. We can take all the necessary paraphernalia. The question is, “Do we have the mental strength to carry us through?”
It takes ingenuity, physical fitness, experience and a strength of character that many of us do not have. I’d like to think that I’d be able to keep myself going but I don’t know for sure. How do we know what our response would be?
Think about it
Could you withstand extreme hardship, lack of food, hostile elements, possible sickness, probable injury, let alone further assaults by the hand of fate?
The answer is, you don’t really know unless you’ve been there.
So how would you prepare? You would research every angle. You would test and improve your physical fitness in the gym and outdoors. You would put yourself through mental agility tests. You would even attempt to acclimatise your mind and body to the extremes of deprivation of sleep, deprivation of comfort, deprivation of food and total lack of warmth.
That’s when you’re actively putting yourself in a situation where those skills and strengths might be needed.
What if you have to face something without all that preparation? What then?
Have you survived a challenging moment? I’d like to know about it if you’d like to share it in the comments.
If you haven’t, I’d like to know what you think you would do should that happen to you.
What are your thoughts about instincts kicking in and our bodies withstanding such events?
Sisters Suki & Sheba, my Protective Pets
The wolves in the clips were seen as, on the one hand, hostile and out for the kill and, on the other hand, seemingly predatory but having some instinct to protect or perhaps possessing the spirit of a loved one, sent to help.
Many of us have been protected by our own pets. My two dogs reacted to someone who knocked at the door, a complete stranger to me. I was on my own, I didn’t like the look of him and I was afraid. Did they pick up on that or did they recognise a threat?
They did something I’d never seen them do before or since; both barred their teeth, their hackles rose and they barked and growled until I shut the door, muttering for a while afterwards and keeping an ear pinned for returning footsteps.
Is it more than instinct?
Were they protecting me because they could feel my ‘vibes’? Or did they sense something about this person, something they didn’t care for, some evil in the air? I don’t know. What I do know is that they were normally friendly, welcoming animals to those they knew and those they’d never encountered before. I’m sure they would have welcomed a burglar with tails a-wag.
I’ve often heard about the sixth sense animals are said to possess. Is that true? What do you think? Have you had first-hand experience of animals exhibiting such ‘ability’?
Protection for a Stranger?
Would that same animal show the same concern for a stranger, would they protect that person if s/he were in danger?
Would a wild animal do the same? I don’t know. I’ve never witnessed such things. Have you? If so, perhaps you could share your experience in the comments.
Elephants have Emotions
My Personal Thoughts
I believe that there is some emotional connection between humans and wild animals. If we connect with our pets why shouldn’t there be some empathy between us and the wild?
Instinct and survival are uppermost in the animal kingdom but they do nurture, protect and provide; they do show emotion. Much of it is to do with survival, I know, but what about the elephants who mourn the death of one of the herd? What about the crows who hold a wake (see Shyron E Shenko’s hub, http://shyroneshenko.hubpages.com/hub/The-Crow-Convention-with-One-Left-in-the-Wake-Poem)?
Amateurs or Experts
Whether you’re an expert on animal behaviour or an amateur who has experience of any kind relating to this subject, I’d love to hear about your knowledge and your views.
Copyright annart/AFC 2015