Mountain Meadow #71
Some may say I can’t,
can’t deal with loss. Maybe so,
but please don’t stop there, it’s
far more important
Recently arrived at the crime scene
of the centuries, eco-poetry.org
asks, with 16-point display caps
in an earth brown pantone:
What is the role
of the poet now
that all life on earth
the words already at a distance
from, do you wonder that
this question isn’t really asking
What is the role
of the poet now
that human life on earth
that’s all we have
ever cared about
and who’s that hiding in
our collective pronoun when we
must know at some level it’s
a trick word used by those in power
(and those kissing up to it),
the legions of patriarchs-hierarchs
instead of a female hierophant
holding up an ear of corn.
Machine men arrive,
meadow #71. Rootstocks,
entire living habitats rip
apart, tossed into heaps, carried away
by dump trucks, to be sold
just like that
a familiar pattern,
I swallow hard the knotted words
I’m sorry, goodbye. Nothing good
about it except another family
will enjoy the new view, just as I do.
The tall conifers at the back of the lot,
how long will they survive, severed from
its neighbor meadow, weakened?
It’s November 15.
The deciduous trees have lost
most of their leaves. An Arctic front rapidly
moves off. A kind warmth resumes.
There were hibernal animals in that dark
just below small meadow as verb,
in their deep brown coiling with
root, rock, and stone asleep toward Spring until
dazed they face a dull November sky.
What was the question?
I have another, it isn’t pretty:
What is love?
I step through the front door into
the outside air, there’s a tang this is
also the smell of death
that once was only dying.
As Thoreau would make American Transcendentalism work at Walden Pond, the philosophy in practice would not transcribe to the world of commerce. Continued suffering from the 2010 ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico, the 2011 nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, and the nearly daily extinction and endangerment of animal and plant species doubly announces human hurts and fears masked by a greed that denies our basic need for community. We get lost in childlike feelings of being insignificant or omniscient yet are neither. Though our breath is who we are, no more no less, why isn’t that enough? Why the need to feel special which so isolates us from a greater and palpable whole? In the words of the late Pacific Northwest painter and Zen practitioner, Morris Graves, “We’re walking through the stuff that we are.” This is also joy. If not for our dying every other moment we would not live. This is also freedom. No need to do harm. We are whole. Why assign authority over our lives to others? Is it inevitably our tender human capacity for loving that gives us away to manipulation? Every day there are forces that fragment, and every day poetry breathes into, re-integrates, empties, questions and enlivens.
Donna Fleischer writes poetry in both open field and Japanese-derived forms of haiku and haibun. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in EOAGH, Jupiter 88, Kō, Otoliths, Poets for Living Waters (Blazevox), South by Southeast, and Spiral Orb. Indra’s net, (bottle rockets press 2003), an out of print haibun collection, is available free to read at Scribd. Her essay, “The Black Swans of Ellen Carey: Of Necessary Poetic Realities” is the catalogue essay to the ground-breaking lens-based artist’s 2014 Eastern Connecticut State University exhibition “Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey. Twinkle, Twinkle (Longhouse Publishers, 2010) is Fleischer’s third chapbook. She curates contemporary poetry and permaculture content at her blog word pond