Thursday, July 8, 2010

This World

I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it

nothing fancy.

But it seems impossible.

Whatever the subject, the morning sun

glimmers it.

The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.

The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark

pinprick well of sweetness.

As for the stones on the beach, forget it.

Each one could be set in gold.

So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds

were singing.

And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music

out of their leaves.

And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and

beautiful silence

as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too

hurried to hear it.

As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs

even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,

and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,

so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being

locked up in gold.

When working with the endangered Central American Scarlet Macaw two years ago we had a saying, “Every chick is gold.” We said this to enforce our commitment that we would do everything we could to save every single bird. No bird would die on our watch! Of course, many did. This past year, despite overwhelming obstacles, the Guatemalan biologists seem even more committed and accomplished. I asked them what happened, and one replied that it was because of their great love for the bird and for each other. Part of their love took the form of trying to increase the numbers of chicks fledged in the wild by caring not just for chicks, but for eggs. So they said this year, “Every egg is gold.” No eggs would die on our watch! Of course, many did. I often wondered if we were belittling the bird’s beauty and wonder by comparing them to gold. It seems to me that the better phrase would be, “Every golden moment is macaw!” -or-“Every child born is macaw!” “Everything that glitters, or doesn’t, is macaw!”

How can you unlock your life?

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