Humming birds and bees
have gone missing.
‘OK,’ people say.
‘We’ll make plastic flowers.’
Even egrets know
this is crazy.
A dolphin nears
the shore enough
that I can ask her
has she met
or heard of
one good human
‘Nature is the polluter,
their Reagan said,’
the dolphin snorted.
‘I swam through ugly miles
of human-made plastic,
starved and scared to fish
knowing that fish fill
themselves with plastic tossed
by your good humans.’
I extended my search
sure good people exist
in spite of all their news.
Learning to read taught me
that humans feed on tragedies
they cause, or don’t resist.
I am sure today’s the day
I’ll find my black swan:
a human who is good.
Here comes one
helping an old man
cross a busy road.
He keeps saying ‘No!’
She smiles and tugs
his wristwatch off.
‘Why can’t you be nice?’ I asked.
‘We can’t, because we’re people,’
the humans beings replied.
The birds and the other beings
nodded. ‘That’s the truth,’
they all said together.
‘If you are born a human
you’ll be bad.’
I wanted a different answer.
‘Can’t some of them change?’
I asked. I saw shaking heads.
‘Maybe,’ said one chicken.
She walked to the people.
They killed her dead
just because they could.
We listened but we didn’t do a thing.
Oh, Samantha marched, and Luther read a list,
and I chaired meetings. Glenda did I Ching.
And none of us believed apologists
for industries who claimed their little bits
of damage to our home lands weren’t so bad.
But Do? But Fight? A third of us signed chits
demanding less pollution. We were glad
we’d been so active, while we’d stayed polite.
We stayed on in the cities. We consumed.
The storm clouds thickened; we turned up the light
and read our anthems while the rockets zoomed
and birth control was honoured in the breech.
Jehovah gave his day job up to teach.
Haze eats the horizon as I stand my watch.
Flocked swallows settle in a second then
flit up into the one remaining swatch
of sky the storm clouds have not painted in.
A woman hangs wet watch to catch the wind.
A yellow duckling bobbles in boats’ wakes
and boys dive where the inner harbour takes
its leave of city and runs to the sea.
The grey comes down as softly as the flakes
of bridge paint that the rust and time set free.
The Drommedaris, built starting in 1540, is a historic fortress tower in Enkhuizen that is now used as a cultural centre and for special events.
Logic by ‘Anon’ from The Faber Book of Useful Verse, edited by Simon Brett, 1981, p. 127.
Good wine maketh good blood.
Good blood maketh good humours.
Good humours maketh good thoughts.
Good thoughts bring forth good works.
Good works carry a man to heaven.
Ergo. Good wine carrieth a man to heaven.
For wine to make good blood, or even bad,
requires a highly fictive evolution.
And humours, unless the poet ‘Anon’ means fluids,
are not the same as blood in any way.
That humours might engender benign works
is so far figurative that it has no meaning,
for all of history teaches that good thoughts
result in nothing often, or in works
as often bad as good, so how can this,
this homily from ‘Anon,’ be any proof
there even is a heaven, much less one
to which a man gets carried if he drinks?