I have seen the great feet
leaping into the river
and I have seen moonlight
milky along the long muzzle
and I have seen the body
of something scaled and wonderful
slumped in the sudden fire of it mouth,
and I could not tell which fit me
more comfortably, the power,
or the powerlessness:
neither would have me
entirely; I was divided,
consumed, by sympathy,
After a while it was done,
the fish had vanished, the bear
to the green shore
and into the trees. And then there was only
It followed me home
and entered my house-
a difficult guest
with a single tune
which it hums all day and through the night-
slowly, or briskly,
it doesn't matter,
it sounds like a river leaping and falling; it sounds like a body
Being a prey item myself, you would think that I would root for the fish in this story, or the small dove loosing feathers in a explosion as the falcon hits. I am also a predator and have, and I admit it only a few times, been hungry in my life. Mostly I know how hard it is to be a predator, being a wildlife veterinarian who has treated the young raptors who have not learned the difficult task of hunting or fishing. So I root for the predator.
In short, I am torn. Seeing an Eagle scoop down over the river I whisper "careful" to the Pintail ducks on the water. Then my breath stills and when the Eagle's talons are full of meaty feathers, I should, "Wow! Well done!" Then I think of the eggs to grow cold on the nest and what will not come to be for the sake of dinner. I ache.
What a mess this life is. I awake this morning so pleased that I have the resources to contribute to life through writing, speaking, and consulting. As a predator I have hunted well in my life, accruing resources so that I may rest in my nest lined with feathers. But they are feathers of others. Just yesterday I awoke, weepy, thinking of the masses whose children will die of dysentery before the day is over, one who might have an older brother here in the U.S., perhaps even the one who cooked a burrito for me over the weekend. I am for the prey, and I am for the predator. I am for power, I am for sharing power so that it does not accumulate in the upper echelons of the food chain.
Being on the team of life, also means cheering for death.
I wonder if the only sane response is the crazy one - to go through this day with a broken heart, open to what is and letting in everything, so that my heart grows bigger and stronger.
Who do you root for, prey, predator, both, neither?