Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Because we do not live some life
different from the life that we do live,
sometimes I would have traded life for death
to feed my life to all that feeds on life.
Along the river, white long-legged birds
lift one foot slowly, pause to put it down,
and lift the other, down, and feed, absorbed
in certainties that never fail, though blind.
Great drifts of purple flowers hold
the roadside; patrols of purple flowers roam
through fields and climb to overtop high banks.
Purple is what color there is in the world.
Certain beasts—like cats—are sleek and quick,
their skins shimmer with light; they dream.
What force there is in fish that live their years
in the cold darks of the sea, swimming the darks.
In August once, I dozed on an unused bridge
to hang in the very world, in the teeming air.
Great world, your lives are such that we despair,
seeing the loveliness, to live our lives.
Yet men are all of these, and more than these
strong beasts, dark fish, white birds and colored flowers.