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Rolf Hogan


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Rolf Hogan works with international nonprofit organizations to promote the conservation of nature and sustainable development. He has his BA in zoology from Trinity College, Dublin, and his MS in cultural anthropology from the University of Edinburgh. An environmentalist, songwriter, and singer, Hogan now lives in Russia and will release his first album later this year.

Dandelion Savannah

For Sharon Tennison

A solitary caver crawls to the daylight.
Cold as carbide
Pale as the troglodyte
Hocked from a still limestone den
To the pounding chaos of a Moscow spring.

The moon grew a rain forest off Lomonosovsky Prospekt.
You swing from a liana
To the terrace built overnight
On a pavement scarred
By the winter of lost regimes.

Bare skin—the blank canvas of the “little life”
Jaunts by blades of hair-thin grass
That finally broke the surface
On a bruised and waking land.

Powder snow, sorbet-snow,
Soot-snow, grit-snow…
Heaps of snow shards along the tramline
Congeal to street-bergs by the mall.

Porridge-snow, dog-shit-snow
Melting snow,
Frozen melted snow,
More snow…
No snow.
Just dusty avenues stretching in the sun.

Smell the tiger worms devouring autumn’s stubborn leaves.
A billion protozoans crack crystals in newfound mines.
A sea of emerald grass swamps the parkland.

But no one dares to cut the grass,
Not yet
Not until the spell is spent.
Until we have drunk the chestnut blossom,
Till we are tipsy on lilac
And hysterical on birch pollen.
Not before we roll, and laugh and love
On the spring tide
Of this dandelion savannah.

Scald-crows—the solitary scavengers of December
Flock beneath the sycamores;
Badb frisky with romance as she picks the soft dark clay.
Genteel pigeons keep their distance
Giving ground to the battle crow.

But still we move along.
Like the lazy brown waters of the Oka
Who could question where the water flows?
We live this little life
Before the cold wind blows.

See the spark in her eye
As you walk above the desert streets
Scented with fat lime leaves and black earth.
Soon the giant watermelons will arrive from the South
The taste of sweet Azeri tomatoes already on her lips.

And will the Morrígan call again
Across this teaming land
To wash the khaki clothes
Of its dancing waking souls?

But still, we move along
To the surging dandelion savannah.
We’ll roll and dance and love
Until the first pale leaf tumbles to the ground.
Till the cold winds come.
Just as we have always done.

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