In the Orange Sunset
A poem by Chase Ambler
~ Reflection ~
The planet is one living, breathing organism. We are but one species in a vast world of life. Yet, we humans often lose sight of that and treat the world as if it’s ours to do what we will. Every action that we take as a profound impact on the ecosystem we are in. In this poem I wanted to paint a specific image to highlight that thought. When we build our homes, it’s not without endangering other species’ homes and lives. In this particular case it is a bird that was hit by a car in a developing suburb.
I, as many people, have accidentally killed animals while driving before. The incident that affected me the most was a goose that jumped into my car’s path instead of out of it. When I got to my destination there were a few feathers stuck in my front license plate. That image of feathers has stayed with me to this day. Now I could blame the bird for intruding on my space, yet the road went right near a body of water, so it was the bird’s space that I was intruding on in the end. Wild places are dwindling around the world being rapidly replaced by human spaces whether they are cities, towns, mines, or farmland. Now the individual is not so much to blame for this as is our entire species as a whole. The poem tries to convey that sense by not naming a specific person. The humans are vague in the stanzas. They are the general threat that haunts these other species.
For me the black asphalt is a strong image in this poem. It is something so foreign and ominous to these animals. And where roads go, buildings soon follow and swallow up every inch of wild land. But just as important as the asphalt is the gutter. Non-human life is relegated to the drain as if it is trash, and when it’s extinguished the gutter washes away the evidence, so there is no reminder of what was lost.
Just a few short stanzas about one bird can open up much broader subjects. That’s one of the things I love about poetry: the origami effect. Something so large is folded over and over until it’s a new shape that’s much smaller, and hopefully more beautiful, yet still contains all of that original material. You can judge if I was successful in this poem or not.
Chase Ambler is an American writer who spent his childhood in South and Southeast Asia. His life has been shaped by strange obsessions: heavy metal music, mountains, travel, and soccer. These subjects have all molded his poetry and prose in some way, but the birth of his daughter may have the greatest impact yet. He lives with his wife, baby daughter, and dog in Colorado. If one went looking for Chase, they could find him anywhere from changing diapers to summiting 14,000 foot mountains, but odds are he’s in front of the computer working on his next novel.
Visit the FB page for his Novel: Snowsong