Anne Waldman




From Manatee / Humanity  

Three manatee species and one particular Dugong species are on the endangered species list but the classification is in question.  They are victims of loss of habit, collisions with boats, and “red tide”. This mammal is an aquatic relative of the elephant- going back 60, 000 years -, grows up to  nine feet long and can weigh 1,000. This creature is related to the Steller’s Sea Cow that went extinct in 1768. Jeb Bush took the manatee off the endangered species list in Florida when he was governor there. The manatee suffered in the BP oil catastrophe. with many other aquatic species and birds and plants and humans.The Buddhist view is that all life forms are interrelated through their evolutionary history and that animal and human minds are both participants in reality. And that minds exist at the quantum level, below the level of atoms and sub-atomic particles.  Minds never come from nothing or go to nothing.The manatee’s realm in the shallow pool I visualized as a shrine.  I perceived her less as a victim but as a kind of poetic deity.  And I felt she had the greater sympathy for me. The manatee ostensibly has no use in the current world. It’s odd how creatures that pacifistic, transcendent even,  go extinct as  human realms of cruelty, plunder and war grind on unchecked. Anne Waldman

From Manatee/Humanity, Penguin Poets
Copyright by Anne Waldman 2009, 2014

“Lirgga songs…are received by the mermaid Dreamings who live in Billabongs…”
– Allan Marett (The Wanga of North Australia)

the manatee is found in shallow slow moving rivers
the manatee moves in estuaries moves in saltwater bays
the manatee in moving moves gently
the manatee is to be found in canals and coastal areas
the manatee is a migratory animal
the manatee is gentle and slow-moving
the manatee moves in slow moving rivers slowly
the manatee is completely herbivorous
the West Indian manatee has no natural enemies
the manatee has no natural enemies but unnatural man
the  manatee is constantly threatened by man unnaturally
man with his boats and plastic and attitude
the manatee often drowns in canal locks of man
man who makes no concession to manatee
the manatee often dies in flood control structures
man who makes no concession to manatee nor cares of manatee life, manatee fortune
the manatee dies in collision with water craft
man who does not protect the manatee
what steward of the earth is this unnatural man?
man who makes no concession to manatee
the manatee dies with the ingestion of fish hooks
man who unnaturally, makes no concession to manatee
the manatee dies from liter and monofilament lines
man who is rank in attitude has no use for manatee
the manatee dies entrapped in crab trap lines
the manatee dies from loss of habitat claimed by man
the manatee is maimed by man, the manatee could be aided by man
man o aid the manatee man come to the manatee heart
a  manatee calf is born  every 2-5 years
a manatee gestates for a year in the manatee womb
8,400 miles of tidal waters could be for the manatee
11, 000 miles of rivers & stream could be for the manatee
10,000 miles of canals would they all be for the manatee
the manatee has more grey matter in the brain than man
the manatee is perhaps thinking archivally deeper than man
ancient days of manatee so many thousands of years
manatee mind, what is the mind of manatee?
the manatee has no natural enemies
the manatee is completely herbivorous
the metabolism of the manatee is slow, moves slowly
the manatee moves in estuaries, moves in saltwater bays
the manatee moves  in slow moving rivers slowly the manatee is gentle
the manatee offspring nurses for up to 2 years
the manatee learns everything from the manatee mother
the manatee mothers and offspring sing to one another
the manatee have large ear-bones
chirps   whistles   squeaks of the manatee
the manatee in moving slowly moves gently
oscillations of the manatee moving between  manatee ears
ears of the manatee mother and manatee offspring
manatee are our Sirenians, and live in the house of the sirens
where are the human sanctuaries for the manatee?
manatees mermaids  sirens singing move slowly
the manatee mother and calf so bonded
female manatee bonded with her just one manatee offspring…