The first work of a newborn babe
Is making sense, putting the
Kaleidoscopic world in some order
It can relate to. But making sense
Is far from the universal clarity
Of enlightenment “reason.” One can be rational,
And make no sense. As Locke wrote,
"A madman argues right
From wrong principles." We have
Seen it happen. Who can help us
Make sense of the chaotic world
Of now? There is no system
To save us. Reason is turned
To gain alone. The world of experience
Is lost. Wordsworth weeps.
The rescue of a sea tortoise.
What is in his reptilian snout?
I watch concerned men
Hold him, trying to get
A grip on the offending matter.
His patience must be great
To endure the moments
As blood beads and runs
Down his nose.
He labors to be still
As his helpers work
To free him of the violation.
At long last, they succeed.
A plastic straw emerges, and the tortoise
Breathes freely again.
And so with care, we rescue
Creatures, so full of beauty and grace,
we sat together, Mom and Dad, and watched
The evening coming down in purplish bands
Beyond the edge of the lake. We laughed and ate
Outside, engaged in talk about the kids, the past,
The hopes and worries of the day. And you
Were glad to see the house, our place, our life
In this New England town. Too far from home,
But “just the place for us to be.” I smiled,
But knew that I would never have a day
When I could just come by to visit you,
Could stop to have a bagel or a hug,
Or watch the Red Sox in the den with Dad.
We walked a bit along the road, and joked
About the exercise. We laughed again,
Enjoying moments, precious moments then.
We took a drive, watched girls chase soccer balls
Across green fields, and measured out the day
With small steps rushing onward toward its end.
At last the time was gone. With smiles and hugs
You got into your car, put bags in the rear seat,
Backed up and paused when pointed down the drive,
Looking back, smiles in profile, faces blurred
In window glass, hands raised in a final wave,
You rolled away toward home. I stayed behind,
Silent, in the purplish light, already remembering
Today branding is thought paramount.
What distinguishes us
from everyone else?
Smoke and mirrors.
A line of chatter
and a hot elevator pitch.
We forget that the word “brand”
also means an act
of violent possession.
Who owns us? In the world
of business and sales,
we become cattle
waiting for their turn
in the chute.
He just died,
that boy who jumped the fence
in the sixth grade.
We were out on the playground
when it happened:
a scramble up the chainlinks,
A leap into the bushes,
a scurrying out of sight.
Everyone went looking for him!
Teachers, aides, even the principal.
Walking around the schoolyard
And then into the streets of town,
Hoping to bring him home.
Only hours later did they find him,
Curled up, dirty, asleep
under a bench in the schoolyard.
Already at home?
It took him many more years
of climbing and falling
for the cancer to bring him home