Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thinking of the Swirler

One day I went out into a wonderful ongoing afternoon, in was fall,

the pine trees were brushing themselves against the sky as though they were painting it, and Swirler,

who was alive then, was walking slowly through the green bog, his neck

as thick as an ox, his antlers brushing against the trees,
his three good feet tapping

the softness beneath him and the fourth, from an old wound, swirling. I know he saw me

for he gave me a long look which was as precious as a few good words, since his eyes

were without terror  What do the creatures know? What in this world can we be certain about?  How did he know I was nothing

but a harmless mumbler of words, some of which would be about him
and this wind-whipped day?  In a week he would be dead,

arrowed down by a young man I like, though with some difficulty.

In my house there are a hundred half-done poems.  Each of us leaves an unfinished life.

My son recently returned home from a month's visit to his native country, Honduras.  He and his brother had been down at the river swimming, and growing bored, his brother raised his slingshot and killed two birds.  My son showed me pictures of the dead birds, one of which I could see was  a brightly colored "Mountain Trogon."  My son said he and his brother had never seen such a bird near their home before.  I wonder if they ever will again.

At the end of December, 3 Whooping Cranes were shot in Georgia.  These were young birds that had been raised in Wisconsin and this was their first migration south.    I wonder if hunters had gotten bored.

When I was 21 I visited a night club and sitting at a table full of locals, we told each other of our lives.  He asked what I did and I answered that I was a bird veterinarian.  He then said, "Shucks. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I shoot hawks. Sometimes when I'm waiting for a deer or a duck, I get so bored. I just have to empty my gun into something."  I wonder what ever happened to that man.

What is it that pulls our kind to finish off another before their time?  Boredom?  Anxiety and despair mixed with feelings of being overwhelmed and perhaps mental incoherence?  Why did the shooter fire into the crowd, killing six and severely wounding Representative Gaby Gifford in Arizona a few days ago?

 I have hundreds of unanswered questions swirling around in my head, the fog of this morning echoing the murkiness in so many minds.  I wonder what we shall make of all these unfinished lives.

Is there something you wish to finish, or leave unfinished in your life?       

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