I walk early, the breeze freshens to a welcome wind,
Wind from the south, in my face as I begin,
At my back as I turn for home.
It is early, past dawn, not hot, not yet.
Light comes low and slant, the forest shade
Crosses the road, the county road: gravel, dirt, mud, puddles.
Further on, at the meadow, treeless, or nearly so,
Energy in the form of sunlight brightens every step,
Outlines, like chalk, every misdemeanor and felony.
Among my footprints from yesterday's walk
I see other prints from yesterday, and other days and nights,
Mundane stories of comings and goings,
I also sense intrigue and violence:
Coyote up to no good, raccoon fastidious, capable of fury,
Ground hog and armadillo lumbering toward fulfillment,
Turkey going god-knows-where, or why,
And deer, of course, always deer.
Tracks of critters and birds and reptiles and rodents—
Even tadpoles in the puddle, Aristotle's spontaneous generation,
All evidenced by way of print and scat,
Sometimes blood or feathers or hide or bone.
Each tells a story—creatures of the night, coming and going.
And above, already, footprints by way of shadow:
Vultures, hawks, killdeer, mockingbird, blackbird,
Meadow lark, tanager, sparrow—birds of daylight and enterprise.
Half-told stories of life and death.
Nothing, but me, travels this road for the pleasure of it.
There is purpose, and what purpose could it be
But life and death: life to live, death to avoid.
Poetry by jim
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Written on 2022-06-16 at 01:45
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