Freitag, 17. Mai 2024

The Sturgeon’s Dream/ Center for Humans and Nature

Libretto by Isaac Yuen and I has been chosen by the wonderful people at The Center of Humans and Nature. It is running it in two parts.

Sink into deep time. Sink into the sea. Sink to 210 million years ago, when the first sturgeons appeared. Sounds and noises from weather, rocks, beasts. The continent shifts. The Baltic Sea did not yet exist; Pangea the supercontinent remains whole. A rich and dense forest grows where now the Baltic Sea is, its trees turning eventually into amber, light, luminous.


Under the first sturgeon moon

the one sea shudders

a cosmic sigh, this night alone

to welcome

jewel-studded fish

who came to exist

not on this day, night, or month

that year, decade, or millennia, not

out of the blue

but in the presence of that zeal for life—

has become

and now is and

will be

until one future day, in one singular moment

will not. Cease to exist. Vanish. Forever

Foam on the sea.


A wave of moonlight penetrates the surface



changes course, rebounds,

sparks from jittering photons

from sun reflected via moon to earth

to land on silver sturgeon skin.


If us, we,

had been around then

and addressed a letter to Purkyně, Europe,

Purkyně would write back and explain

that even then

if our eyes had been

there and then

to witness—

the light would have indeed

turned silver,

the moonlight shed

on an ancient sea.


Who is to say what

we would have seen then

would move us now,

us seeing so much

that we forget

to look

and thus see nothing?

A sturgeon’s vision relies on

four barbels dangling near the mouth

to sense other lives, electric pulses, signals, present, vital.


From sea to barbel to sturgeon body, like moonlight hushed into the depth,

currents translating other presences

into a world, an Umwelt of its own.


Electrified by entities

the ocean pulses too, with every molecule:

Organic matter, fluid matter, drifting matter, sinking matter

rising matter, floating matter.

Creatures and critters, multicellular organisms, singular cells

roiling with life.


And on shore, the one shore, the only shore

the same sturgeon moon

Rises also

above that mass of land, above the continent that is

where the first gingko tree

just then

unfurls its branches, casts its shadow

on who is to say?

created as part of the Aland Universe project by Frauvonda


Winner Best Literary Travelbook

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