Big Bear

Doug Barrett


In memory of Bill Cowee 1943-2009


Big Bear died the other day
    or maybe the other night.
Everybody gather round
    and take a bite.

Those of us who loved him best
    take the biggest piece.
Then we'll put on the old boy's skin
    and dance around in it.

Big Bear had an appetite
   vast as earth and skies.
Enshrine his skull to speak to us
    bones through the eyes.

Big Bear welcomed everyone
    into his lair.
"Sit anywhere, take any chair
    no big bear here."

He published his own scat
    vocalizations everywhere.
He ate the poisoned meat of prominence
    without a care.

"Let it all out,” Big Bear said,
    "Touch someone and do them good."
That's nice, Big Bear, but lately
    all I touch just turns to blood.

He'd sit and watch the foxes play
    all night long.
And yet what wild fox ghost could ever
    lead him wrong?

Now it's Halloween,
    night of the dead,
and I can't help thinking Big Bear's heard
    every word I've said.

Waiting for the wind to rise.
    Waiting for the storms.
Waiting for Big Bear's spirit to
    crawl through my mind like worms.