Did you watch that walrus scene, on screen?
Plummeting to their deaths
A tragedy of bodies piled
at the base of an 80-foot cliff.
Tusks puncture blubber
ivory impales backs. Bellies. Eyes.
Life runs from leathery coats
into Russian waters
under the Arctic skies.
Skulls crack on wetted rocks
stacking the beach
with figures of furrowed blocks.
Wrinkled blobs morph
into a mass grave
of haemorrhaging greys and browns.
Nothing to do but watch.
Straight into our lens, your flippers extend. A tilt from the rock face then
spread into a crucifixion pose. A vain execution. A limp creature
in slow motion begins its death descent. We watch the body’s contortion
defeated by the steep incline. The lack of grip. A final tumble. A blind stumble?
The hauling out. To the water. The stupidity of it all. The fall.
Why are they doing this? They aren’t made for climbing cliffs.
They had nowhere else to go. You replied. They had nowhere else to sit.
Niamh McNally is an Irish poet from Belfast. She completed her Master’s in creative writing at Ulster University whilst co-creating and editing, The Paperclip; a student-led publication. Niamh’s publications include The Tulsa Review, Capsule Stories, Tir Na nOg, The Galway Review, Illagrypho Press and recently, her poetry featured on the BBC and in Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s film about the climate crisis. Her poetry is currently being showcased by Bushmills as promotion for The Causeway Collection.