On Migration: Dangerous Journeys and the Living World

On Migration: Dangerous Journeys and the Living World

by Ruth Padel


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On Migration: Dangerous Journeys and the Living World by Ruth Padel

“Life began with migration.” In a magnificent tapestry of life on the move, Ruth Padel weaves poems and prose, science and religion, wild nature and human history, to conjure a world created and sustained by migration.

'We're all from somewhere else,' she begins. “Migration builds civilization but also causes displacement.” From the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt, the Lost Colony on Roanoke and the famous photograph ‘Migrant Mother’, she turns to John James Audubon’s journey from Haiti and France, heirlooms carried through Ellis Island, Kennedy’s “society of immigrants” and Casa del Migrante on the Mexican border.

But she reaches the human story through the millennia-old journeys of cells in our bodies, trees in the Ice Age, Monarch butterflies travelling from Alaska to Mexico. As warblers battle hurricanes over the Caribbean and wildebeest brave a river filled with the largest crocodiles in Africa, she shows that the purpose of migration for both humans and animals is survival.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781619024335
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ruth Padel is a British poet and writer devoted to conservation, music and Greece. She has published a novel, eight poetry collections including a lyric biography of her great great grandfather Charles Darwin, and eight works of non-fiction including a firsthand account of wild tiger conservation. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Council Member for the Zoological Society of London, and writes and presents BBC Radio 4's Poetry Workshop. She lives in London.

Table of Contents

Migration Made the World 1
First Cell 10
Dance of the Prokaryotes 11
Revelation 12
Breaking the Bond 14
Go and Stay 15
Allele 23
Cell Begins Her Travels 24
Spinning the Plasma 25
Flight of the Apple 27
Go and Come Back 29
Dunlin 42
Where Clavicle and Wishbone Fuse 43
Children of Storm 44
Swallows Hibernating at the Bottom of a River 46
Rift 47
The Boy from Haiti 48
The Watcher 49
Finding the Way 51
When You’re on Your Own 68
1 Osprey 68
2 Hummingbird 69
That Bird Migration Records the Movement of
Earth’s Crust 71
Star of the Different Road Back 73
Choice 74
The Hostile Planet: Sky, Sea, Land 75
Nocturne 83
The Ampullae of Lorenzini 86
Barnacle’s Love Song to Humpback Whale 87
In Praise of Eight Million Fruit Bats 89
The Miracle of the Fish-Counter in Budgens 90
Ethogram for a Painted Lady 92
Blade Runners of Madagascar 93
Road Closed to Save Mating Toads 94
Chemical 95
There is Always a River 97
Song of the Herbivores 105
Zebra Go First 106
Dream of the Zebra Foal 107
Wildebeest Calf 108
Vulture Optics 109
The Mara, Rising 111
How Does a Zebra Decide? 112
Pregnant Gazelle 113
History’s Push and Pull 115
The Wild One 128
Homo ergaster and the Red Horizon 130
Riders from the East 132
Leaving Troy 133
The Mission 136
The Appointment 139
Kywash 140
Directions for the Plantation of Ulster, 1610 143
The Colossus 144
Landscape with Flight into Egypt 145
Strangers 147
Migrant Mother 161
The Letter Home 162
What You Told Me about Islands 164
1 The Two Flames 164
2 Blown Ruby 165
The Music of Home 166
Music from the Deep 169
The Two-handled Jug 170
The Freud Museum 171
Entry of the Sabbath 172
Godfearing 173
Pieter the Funny One 174
Sphinxes on Thames 177
The Broken Mirror 179
Lodestone 186
Gun 187
End of the Line 188
Sea Catch 190
The Mirror of Nature 191
Rabbit on the Moon 193
The Camden Telescope-Making Class 195
Letter to a Portuguese Cosmologist 196
Advertisement: The Lunar Registry 198
Sharing Space 200
Farming the Wind 201
The Marshes of Eden 202
Children of Storm 205
The Desert and the Sea 218
Ghost Ship 219
Orestiada 220
Wetbacks 222
Maltese Fishing Boat and Broken Net 223
The Place without a Door 225
Immigration Counter and the Gates of Ivory 226
The Apple Orchard in Ghosts 228
The Prayer Labyrinth 229
Purple Ink 231
Carpet Karaoke 232
Dancers with Bruised Knees 234
The Wanderings of Psyche 237
The Wood Where Birds Die for Christ and
Rise Again 246
Only Here On Earth 247
Matisse Writes a Postcard after the War 248
Prayer on an Orphic Gold Leaf 249
Open Door: after Rumi 250
Time to Fly 251

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