“Clearcutting” by Triin Paja

Triin Paja


in Latvia, a charcoal wolf,
with fur like smoke,

rescues her cubs
bundled under felled trees,

masked in the emerald potsherds

from trees tall as lighthouses,
now stumps, marred root, nest dust.

one by one, she carries
her children, grasping them

gently with her young-moon teeth.

she could be a silver-haired mother
digging for her children

in a bombed city.

the wind is the largest room
she knows

and it is growing.

from Poets Respond
May 18, 2021


Triin Paja: “In Latvia, a man operating a harvester films a wolf saving her offspring from under felled trees and rubbish. I live in Estonia, which neighbors Latvia, and deforestation is becoming a wider issue each year, both here and there, and it is not rare to read news about barren and confused (and, at times, rare) animals amidst deforestation. There is a deepening fear and anxiety in us, as our small countries, hailed for their old forests and wildlife, follow the route of many other European countries, which leads to forests stripped bare and much of the wildlife gone extinct. Already, in my own poetry expressing this anxiety, I discern that it is not anxiety alone: it is also grief.”

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