Perhaps it was the migraine, but our visit to the newly refurbished natural history museum in Bordeaux left me with a sense of a missed opportunity. Everything was dead, looked dead, and so many of the exhibits are of species that have since disappeared into extinction, though no mention seemed to be made of that detail. I’ll probably write more about it when I get my wits back.
The natural history museum has had a make-over, ten years of make-over, but it is still no more than a collection of dead birds and animals, bones and fossils. Extinct birds stand next to rabbits, pythons swallow endangered toads, and the same unrecognisable brown, sausage-shaped creatures, their fur dulled in death, grimace through the glass in utter silence. Children marvel at the polar bear, ask to touch its cuddly, acrylic whiteness.
In the misty morning
a heron lifts from the pond
a family of deer
raise their heads
to watch the swallows gathering.