We spend far too much time
clinging to what was
as the flames fade,
and far too little time
feeding the fire
what could be.
In the elemental scheme of things
we humans are, at best, middling.
We are minute in the scale of the universe,
our time not even a glimmer, and
as we age, time contracts, but only
in the shortening forward direction.
But pity the poor hydrogen-7 isotope
whose life is likely over
in 30 yactoseconds, absorbing
the laughter of helium-5 living
on average, 33 times longer, and both
jealously, if ever so quickly
regarding our seemingly infinite span.
But lest we get complacent, there is
always zirconium-96 for whom
our life is but the blink of an eye,
barely worth noting, a second at most
in a span that could reach
twenty quintillion years, so we
are nothing special, save in our own eyes.
So when Noah finally docks the ark
on Mt. Ararat, or wherever, how
does he decide which animals get off first?
And for that matter, the earth having
been flooded for weeks, just what
are they supposed to eat on new land?
For the vegetarians it must have been
very slim pickings, and who wants
a badly waterlogged salad anyway?
And with two of each only, what
did the carnivores actually eat?
If you stop and think about this
long enough you are left to wonder
just how many species were sacrificed
to God’s little tamper tantrum, and
let’s not mention how three sons
and mom and dad, the sole survivors
managed to repopulate the world.
The chill foretells winter
much as birth foretells death
but for humans
there is only the spring
I am not the least
bit certain why
the red-tailed hawk
chose that lamppost
that day and peered down
over the Expressway.
Nature has her own logic
and we question
it at our own risk.
Staring into his
flaming eyes, for one
small moment we both
saw the foolishness
rolling by below
and alongside us.
On the anniversary
of the start of a war
one feels almost compelled
to speak to its horrors,
its cause, its effect.
But we live in an age
where wars are plentiful,
when peace is the exception
and war seems to loom
around every corner.
So on this anniversary
I watch the snowy egret
stare into the pond
outside my window,
the great bird calmly
in her world,
all of the people
are merely fish.
The great blue heron
stares at the shirred
surface of the pond,
paying no attention
to the ibis pecking
around her, ignoring
the traffic passing
on the road,
how the humans
on foot and in cars
that on a November day
the quiet stillness
of the water