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Exercises in Responsibility: Three Poems


The morning, a cocoon, light and quiet Football and the school year start today The fiscal year in a month The calendar year up ahead in an astro-logical darkness All separately revolving, interlocking spheres

Out of phase, I am also out of time Send my double to work Maintain my solitude, contemplate As the fullness of summer, warmth, ambition Yields to apples, colored leaves, rain, dusk

Yet nothing today has really changed I am strong, leaves are green Fog has lifted The glorious sun, like a trumpet Fills the world

Let the world be various, then, at odds Short of war, conflict creates opportunity That it be full of fools and liars Ambitions great and small Spawns stories

Best to watch and comment Our days of contention largely over We live on the hilltop in peace and love each day Hear something, in the distance, loud and foolish, Pounding like surf below



We have no rights Just responsibilities And so we try to retail what we are

But however certain it is We can remake the world and twice as vigorous Nothing stops fate, friends, or fever stopping us

Offering ourselves like cantaloupes or squash We can be left to rot Insides exposed to the sky

No law or threat can make the world benign Or fair Or sensible Or care

So it is what we can present And how and when and where That helps us dare To share until we’re gone



Two hours of cloud, two hours of sun Not possible to predict which will come when It isn’t a matter of control But learning to enjoy the conflict Never to seek comfort

We live inside Watch out windows Through reeds Past clouds Over fields, lakes, forests

A deer may suddenly surface A chipmunk, a dove We cannot be a hawk, soaring Can shoot the dove Can’t share the sky with her

If we love, it is across miles of desire Miles of historical divergence We can hybrid in the middle But cannot cross the frontier Biology has set between us

Loving the impossible That makes life bearable, beautiful Perhaps a painting of vegetables is not vegetables Perhaps a poem is not a party But probably they are; we are

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