Hail

Hello from inside

the albatross

with a windproof lighter

and Japanese police tape.

Hello from staghorn

coral beds

waving at the beaked whale’s

mistake,

all six square metres

of fertilizer bags.

Hello from can-opened

delta gators,

taxidermied

with twenty-five grocery sacks

and a Halloween Hulk mask.

Hello from the zipped-up

leatherback

who shat bits of rope for a month.

Hello from bacteria

making their germinal way

to the poles in the pockets

of packing foam.

Hello from low-density

polyethylene dropstones

glacially tilled

by desiccated,

bowel-obstructed camels.

Hello from six-pack rings

and chokeholds,

from breast milk

and cord blood,

from microfibres

rinsed through yoga pants

and polyester fleece,

biomagnifying predators

strafing the treatment plants.

Hello from acrylics

in G.I. Joe.

Hello from washed up

fishnet thigh-highs

and frog suits

and egg cups

and sperm.

Hello.

Adam Dickinson, “Hail” from The Polymers. Copyright © 2013 by Adam Dickinson. Reprinted by permission of House of Anansi Press.

Source: The Polymers (House of Anansi, 2013)

Dive in: 
  1. What is happening in this poem? Who or what is saying "Hello"?
  2. The poet has created striking snapshots throughout the poem with his choices of imagery and language. Which one is most striking to you? Why?
  3. What does the poem's title, "Hail," make you think of?
  4. How would you describe the mood of the poem? Does that mood shift anywhere?
  5. If you were reciting this poem, how would you handle its short lines, commas, and periods? Where and how long would you pause?
  6. Consider a complex issue, like climate change, fast fashion, or terrorism, that is of international concern. Write a poem that makes that massive problem real, immediate, and undeniable. If you'd like, you can use the word "Hello" the same way Adam Dickinson used it "Hail."

Useful Link

Watch Adam Dickinson read "Hail" and talk about his book The Polymers.

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