Of Rumor’s motives I’ve become suspicious
And found them things we frequently misjudge.
The gossip least correct and most pernicious
Is often spread by those who hold no grudge.
A lie’s propelled by people called “ambitious”
[Who sling a sewer full of slimy sludge].
It’s hard for hands to earn a lawful crown
But not for tongues to tear one’s wearer down
My Muse is scared of going underground,
So she’ll not take me places too profound.
And, if she ventures deep into my soul,
She’ll tunnel through it like a digging mole
Who sniffs his way around because he’s blind
And never sees the things his nose will find.
Perhaps her fear that I’ll be trapped or hurt
Prevents my pen from prying ‘neath the dirt.
The times I’ve grabbed the map to Caves of Self,
She’s whispered, “Please return that to the shelf.”
I’ve wondered if she keeps my poems light
Because she deems my talents sadly slight
And hopes I’ll never have to fail and know
I’ve gone the deepest that I’ll ever go.
You reading prose and poetry I write
Belong among the fortunate of Earth—
But not because I share profound insight
And not because my work’s of special worth.
Then why? Because some person clearly cared
Enough to see you’d have the skills you’d need
To understand what other minds have shared
And freely water learning’s fertile seed.
The food by which a hungry head’s enriched
Might rest untouched atop your dinner plate
If birth had found you and another switched
By circumstance, a god, or luckless fate.
When filled with pride for all the things you’ve learned,
Reflect on your advantages unearned.
The sound of car alarms above my head,
Then card’nal calls around the lightning rod
Inspired my search for brilliant card’nal red.
I saw instead what’s beautiful and odd:
A forest full of sounds and frantic song
Escaping from a single mockingbird.
As though he meant to say, “This life’s not long
And, while it lasts, it’s often quite absurd,”
He played a crow, a robin, and a horn
And jumped between the roles at rates so fast
That moments after ev’ry sound was born
Its span of life among the clouds had passed.
He strove to share the songs he’d kept inside
Instead of hoarding them until he died.*
*I know that he was likely trying to attract a mate…
“The Death of a Bee”
While slowly closed the automatic door,
A bee remained between it and the floor.
No warning sign inside his head had flashed.
Without alarm, he stayed and soon was smashed.
“The Death of a Spider Mite”
With light and careful touch, I gently steered
A spider mite—who in my book appeared—
Towards the door and thought he’d safely fled
…Until I saw the page was streaked with red.