Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Poet Goes to Indiana

I’ll tee you a half-dozen things

That happened to me

In Indiana

When I went that far west to teach.

You tell me if it was worth it.

I lived in the country

With my dog…

And there was a pond with fish..

And I saw coyotes

And once a deer…

And once the blacksmith came to care for the four horses…

And there was, one morning, an owl

And there was once, oh wonderful,

A new horse in the pasture..

And she put her face against my face,

Put her muzzle, her nostrils, soft as violets,

Against my mouth and my nose, and breathed me

To see who I was,

A long quite minute-minutes…

She was saying, so plainly, that I was good, or good enough

Such a fine time I had teaching in Indiana.

Mary feels good enough living in an altered rural landscape that intersects with domestic and wild animals. She could breath in who she was, a primate who alters the land around her, domesticates herself and others, and still marvels and the wildness glimpsed sometimes menacingly close. I awoke this morning to a very altered urban landscape. Here in Edmonton I have seen English Sparrows, European Rock Doves, gulls (gosh help me I don’t know what species), and Black-billed Magpies or rather as my spouse calls them, flying saddle shoes. The city sidewalks appear oh so very tame. But the skies, Lord, the skies. I don’t have a very clear view of the sky because the skyscrapers hem me in up here on the 16th floor, but it’s like I can still see forever in the reflected panorama in the windows across the way that catch the sun rising amongst colorful clouds. Then this morning, around 5:30 a.m. a rainbow wove it’s way among the buildings right in front of me and indeed, I did feel as if I was good enough, if Edmonton was good enough, if our species was good enough, and if our efforts to conserve this planet are good enough. So let me rest today, a conservationist who has gone to Canada.

What leads you to feeling good enough? To feeling wrong?

1 comment:

  1. I feel good enough today because yesterday, at the the monthly poetry meeting at the senior settlement where I live, someone read Robert Hayden's poem "Those Winter Sundays." The day before a good friend of mine from childhood said that her mother didn't love her. This upset me very much because I didn't believe it was true. I called her on the phone, read Hayden's poem to her, and told her 4 or 5 examples of love that her mother had displayed toward her. She was convinced and even came up with an example or two of her own. Never did a poem hove into view at just the right time for me to get an important point across without sounding argumentative or too preachy. My friend can continue to say unflattering things about her mother, but I don't think she'll ever again say that her mother didn't love her!