Canis Lupus (for Kent Weber), by Jennifer Phelps

Palms to the sky

If you open your palms to the sky, arms halfway
outstretched, one might come to you if you are lucky.

And if you are lucky, you must not pull away
although it is human instinct. If one
comes to you, nipping at your forearm or nibbling
the twisted threads hung at your wrist,

remember the skin is foreign to clean
white teeth. Do not fully extend your arms or
pull them away. Do not turn your back or giggle
with nervousness when your fear sets in.

Because it will. If you are lucky, you must unlearn
what you have been taught about big ears and teeth
and breath that has no odor. When one comes to you
and the mouth opens directly in front of your nose

you will see into a darkness larger than your head.
Then, you must wait. If you are lucky and one comes to you,
you must not pull away. Instead, grab the neck
with both hands and pull the wide face closer to you.

There, you must look directly into the yellow eyes,
bear your teeth and allow the mouth larger than
the size of your head to nuzzle into your grimace.
You must keep your eyes open at all times

then, you will discover what it means to be wild.

Yellow eyes

Photographs: Kent Weber

2 responses to “Canis Lupus (for Kent Weber), by Jennifer Phelps

  1. I love your website. The poem is fantastic and very moving. I am student of conservation biology in England, West Midlands. I am also a member of different animal activists’ organizations including the Green Peace, Hunt Saboteurs Associations etc.

    In the past I have signed some petitions on line to the President Obama to keep this beautiful Gray Wolf under the Endangered Species Act. I know that he is under a lot of pressure from everywhere, however, the more he is able to hear the voice the coservation scientist, the better decision he is like to make.
    Since I have signed that petition some time ago, I don’t quite remember, where one should go to apply again. Are there more direct lines of communication with the President, that he could receive faster, and could really look at it. I know that we should never stop applying and knocking at his door. Can you suggest somthing or any good reliable website that could perhaps go directly to the White House?

    Thank you very muich for reading my e-mail.

    Sincerely,

    Margaret Hui

  2. Dear Margaret,

    Yes, the poem by Jennifer Phelps is beautiful, and was written after an inspiring trip to Mission: Wolf, a sanctuary in Westcliffe, Colorado. Jennifer’s work stems from the beauty she sees in the natural world. I’ll pass your comments on to her! Her poem was written as a tribute to Kent Weber, the amazing man who runs Mission: Wolf. Every year, he tours the country with several ambassador wolves to visit schools, communities, and legislators. In their lifetimes, these wolves meet thousands of people, changing hearts and minds to respect and admire their species, and reversing attitudes that have long seen wolves as evil and destructive. Many of these stereotypes were formed through literature (ie. fairy tales), and are perpetuated through representations in movies, novels, even poems! That’s why, whenever I see a positive representation of wolves in our media, art, and literature, I write to praise it.
    Thank you so much for your words about the blog! It’s always nice to hear from readers. Please spread the word, and submit your own poetry, prose, or art. I’m working on a “book review” section, and will take suggestions and submissions from readers about good books on wolves.

    If you want to contact President Obama, please go to the link on my home page, titled “President Obama.” This will take you to a page where you can write directly to the White House, and includes phone numbers as well. Let your voice be heard! Wolves cannot speak for themselves.

    In gratitude,
    Suzanne DuLany

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