When I consider the chronology
of this planet English speakers call “The Earth,”
I find that I am filled with hopeless mirth
and laugh and laugh, without apology.
First, there is the question of ontology:
What does it mean to be? Then, what of worth?
Evolution of love, death, thinking, birth. . .
I need an expert in cryptology.
Or maybe just an old storyteller,
someone to recall the ancient tales,
a weaver of myth, a mystery speller
holding our long history in her brain.
Beside the fire at night, she’d sing of rain
and lovers, trees in winter, crows and whales.
A sonnet exercise I wrote a year or so ago, just for fun.
There were paths in all directions,
doors of many houses.
We knew our way around
mountains; the forests and deserts
were no strangers to our feet.
We had scattered,
and gathered into baskets,
and emptied them
more than once.
It was a cold night,
a waning gibbous moon,
no music anywhere.
We sat at table–
Beekeeper, One-Breasted Woman, Poet, Old Maid–
and laughed and laughed
in the teeth of the darkness,
into the mouth of the Beast.
“Oh, there’s no room
for Granny in there now,”
we said. “Her ears are too big,
her eyes are too big, her elbows
are sharp as her tongue.”
The wine was gone,
the moon was setting
when we finally rose to go.
We laughed and waved goodbye.
“Keep your eyes open,” we said,
“take care of your heart,
and remember to keep
an ear to the tears in the ground.”
Jan. 4, 2007
This is published in the most recent edition of “Crone” magazine.
Red worms have returned to the garden
and I am taking good care of your little dog.
Oh, I don’t know how to use power,
nobody here knows.
Every spring is warmer, every winter
filled with stranger snow. When I close my eyes
I see yours, the bewilderment. I hear you
telling me I resemble your daughter
and I remember my answer.
All your children are confused:
why the rain comes so hard or not
at all, why the bats are dead.
The oceans would turn against us
but they have no place to go.
I’ve buried your dust, sold your things,
but I know there will be no ending.
More starlings than sparrows.
Only one way out.
You are in my bones.
We should try to explain the past by causes now in operation
without inventing extra, fancy, or unknown causes,
however plausible in logic, if available processes suffice.
~Stephen J Gould
Catastrophe is rare and fancy:
Your mother dies.
Your lover leaves.
But commonly, too slow
for sense to comprehend,
the mountains are filling the valleys.
Leaves and bones return.
Grain by grain the ground
is sliding into the sea.
You hardly note
when winter dwindles.
Through dead grasses
green things softly rise.