This is How to Kill a Polar Bear

  after M. O.

First, perform the "Human" acts twenty-four/seven.
Skyrocket excess emitted pleasure.
Settle down. Turn on the TV.
Watch, watch, watch
A white-fur-coated skin,
Poor image of an Arctic king,
Trying to survive on the melting ice floes.

Lastly, do "nothing."

- ksm / 2015

The poem This is How to Kill a Polar Bear is a sarcastic commentary based on the issue of "Polar Bears extinction" as succinctly layered by Mary Oliver in her poem Watching a Documentary about Polar Bears Trying to Survive on the Melting Ice Floes, published in Red Bird: Poems under Beacon Press, 2008. As opposed to Oliver's optimistic voice, the above poem aims to exhibit same "wake-up call" to readers using a rather pessimistic approach in addressing the issue.

This is How to Kill a Polar Bear is a re-work from the original version Evening News: This is How to Kill a Polar Bear, first published in March 2013, and has been featured at Poets United: I Wish I'd Written This by Rosemary Nissen-Wade.


  1. Hello Kelvin,

    As always... remarkable work! :)

  2. Oh Kelvin.. the last line is the perfect one to the current state of human souls doing all the wrong thing without even feeling anything...

  3. I too find the closing line perfect and a great wake up call. We sympathize but often only theoretically. It is fine to be against climate change, as long as it does not involve us.

  4. can be applied to many other things too.

  5. Whether it's polar bears or other destructive tragedies, the result, unfortunately, is the same, since we, as a human race, choose to 'do nothing'. Your last line, echoes tones of direction, where the need to abide by such rules, is scary, in itself.


  6. What a powerful poem, Kelvin. We have been 'watching' this problem (on television!) for way too long....and doing nothing. Humans really need to do better than this and save the polar bears.

  7. well done; good write Kevin
    thanks for stopping over at my blog today

    much love...

  8. Do nothing, that sums it all ~ That's a powerful message Kelvin ~

    Hope you are well ~

  9. Oh, wow. I went to read Mary's poem, which just totally slays me - "perhaps God's plan was that we would do better?" That just says it all. Holy crap! I love the succinctness of your poem, as well. Just putting polar bear and melting ice in a sentence says it all, how urgent and desperate the situation is. A wake up call indeed.

  10. Do nothing - sad reality and I am afraid it will catch up with the world at some point and then there will be no turning back.

  11. I think it is time to shake people up as we 'do nothing' and the world moves on and another species is gone....I am glad for your more sarcastic commentary.

  12. Zoning out on TV can definitely keep us doing nothing. Great spin on Mary Oliver's work, Kelvin.

  13. worst thing is to pretend that everything is fine. Well thought commentary-like poetry Kevin

  14. lashing last line is indeed a wake up call....

  15. What an amazing piece of social commentary - Turn on the TV sums up much which is 'wrong' with the world!

  16. Kelvin,

    This poem sums up our instant reaction to so many sad and dreadful issues, which 'move us,' but only for a fleeting moment..So easy to lose the impact of that first instant...Human suffering, seals, bird life, whaling etc..


  17. A wake-up call is definitely needed!! Your poem is indeed powerful, Kelvin. I find that more often than not, the TV is the reason we do nothing.

  18. Interesting... you are on the right page :-)


Thanks for the kind words!

- kelvin s.m.