Norman Ackroyd


She calls him from a thousand miles distance –
sends forth an invisible cord
from her edge of cliff

to his edge of existence.
She calls him in autumn storms,
in summer stillness,

grooves a new migration route,
moons him towards her
for tide after tide.

Some claim, with disdain,
that she practised with sprats; some beg
her to tame their cats

and mend their lame horses.
Others whisper that she’s aiming
to become one, and hide

from her gaze, for upgrading
to rorqual takes whole shores of sorcery
compared with subsiding into seal.

She knows when he’s close
from the tingle of krill on her tongue,
the pulse of his infrasonic hum

in her thighs, the unpleating
of her throat as she hazards a smile.
Though she’s tiring, awed by his size,

she relies on no lyre to draw
him; no piping raises him, swaying,
from the waves. And when he finally arrives,

she defies the precipice, leans further,
further, further over the side, to tell
him why she fetched him, words stranding

between them like baleen:
Not to contrive more scientific lies,
not for those men rubbing krónur

from their eyes, but to show
that my kind need not be predators.
For no other reason but to see.


Part of The Learned Pig’s Wolf Crossing editorial season, spring/summer 2017.

Image credit: Norman Ackroyd, Evening Rain Papa Stour, etching, 2014. Via Royal Academy.


The Learned Pig


Susan Richardson

Susan Richardson is a poet, performer, educator and editor, whose third collection of poetry, skindancing, is published by Cinnamon Press. In addition to her recent residency with the Marine Conservation Society, she is currently poet-in-residence with both the global animal welfare initiative, World Animal Day, and the British Animal Studies Network. Susan has performed at festivals throughout the UK, for organisations such as WWF and Friends of the Earth, on BBC 2, Radio 4 and at Universities both nationally and internationally. She co-edits Zoomorphic, the digital literary magazine that publishes work in celebration and defence of wild animals. Her fourth poetry collection, themed around endangered marine species, will be published in 2018.