I originally wrote this poem in a blog post from ten years ago, based on a bear that actually visited Albany and raised a bit of a ruckus. Hope you enjoy.
One day I walked along the street
The concrete sidewalk below my feet
When up in a tree – just right over there
I saw him – a great big old black bear
I said, “Hi bear, what are you doin’?
We don’t get visits that often from bruins.”
He said, “I’m lost and I need to go home.
I need my family, I hate being alone.”
“Well, listen,” I said, “Don’t put up a fuss.
EnCon soon will be here for us.
They’ll take you back to your kind very soon.
You just wait right there and don’t fall to your doom.”
“Thank you,” he said. “My name is Tetrameter.
I have a brother, they call him Pentameter.
And cousins named Iamb and Trochee and Dactyl
And some distant cousin that likes using fractals.
“We spend all our time in the forest at play,
Staring at humans, staying out of their way,
We tell lots of poems, I hope you’re not busy.”
“No problem,” I said to the tree-topped scared grizzly.
“Stand back,” said the badged man as he walked to me
“Move along now. There’s nothing here to see.
We need this bear to stay right in the tree
So that the photographer can arrive momentarily.”
“Photographer?” I asked. “Why send one right now?”
“We must photograph this bear,” he said, “and how.”
“I have a camera,” I said, “Right here, ’round my neck.
“I’ll photograph this bear – he’s as scared as heck.”
“Not now,” said the badged man. “I know what you’re doin’
But I’m waiting for the shutterbug from the Times Union
And as soon as he gets here, we’ll just use this dart
The bear will get sleepy and the fun then will start.”
“He looks,” I replied, “almost like he’s scared.
The city’s no place for a poetry bear.
He wants to go back to his mommy and dad
Is that the plan for this bear that you had?”
“Not now,” said the badged man, “The streets we must block
The spectators are coming, it’s become a Bear-stock
Besides, that bear from that tree he did mount
Is probably tweeting from his Twitter account.”
“Oh really,” I said. “Seems rather abhorrent
That instead of your doing what is truly important
and what would benefit the ursine community
is turning now into a photo opportunity?”
“Or maybe,” said I, “It’s not just for safety
Your motives are transparent, and it’s possible – maybe
If compassion is lacking, if you had truly an ounce
Or do you just want to see this bear fall and bounce?”
Just then, some cars arrived on the scene
Photographers arrived, if you know what I mean
With a Buick, a Prius, a Hyundai and a Chevette
from the TU, Metroland, the Record and the Gazette
“Okay,” said the badged man, “I think now we’re ready
And you arrived just in time, this bear’s perch isn’t steady
So as soon as you’re ready, our trapping will start
Just as soon as I load this gun with this dart.”
The cameras were ready, the photographers aware
that the shot for which any one of them would care
is if they could capture the moment that this bear
fell out of the tree – but was trapped in mid-air
The dart was loaded… the command was heard “Ready….”
And the hopes that the shooter had an aim that was steady
The dart missed the bear. Where could that dart be?
Did something hit my neck … ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz…
The cameramen missed the shot that they craved
The bear didn’t fall, he just sat there and waved
and growled with a “GRRRRR” till they ran with a canter
You just can’t shoot the bear named Tetrameter
I found out much later that the bear is now free
he eventually climbed down from his perch on the tree
and went back to the forest, as all bears should
And doing things only bears do in the woods
For EnCon, a decision had to be made
And thanks to the recklesss shot of Cross-Eyed McCabe
Your narrator, who you know as a Cap Region townie
is just waking up now in Delaware County
They tagged and released me, the poet narrator
I’ll probably have to get back to you later
I’ll be heading home in three or four nighters
Based on my skills as a highway hitch-hiker.