Tag Archives: William Stafford

incidental

a lone deer feeds
in a cornfield still fallow in late June

“maybe soya this year,”
some who know these patterns, say

i check the bleuets on the boundary to the west
these are feral patches deep in reclaimed prairie
still pink-sky blue or Caribbean green,
not yet the dusty indigo blue

i’ll check again tomorrow
like yesterday and the next day

i raise my hands up slow and high
surrendering to the deer
to show i don’t have a gun from a store
or a bow or blade i made

my tradition is not hot steel
my ceremony is not stone, bone, shaft and feathers
my nature is not always claws
these days

i hold a soft, open mouth
a weirdish smile
to show the deer
i have no usable canines

i transmit a thought
concerning the herd
“what happened to the other six you lived and walked with this winter”

no reply
to my attempt at telepathy

i push a wave of [sy][e]mpathy out from my heart
and hope the deer feels it

a moment later
the deer bolts
but not away from me, to the east
but to the west, closer

the twilight train’s here at 9:24 tonight
and the coyotes
compulsively give themselves away
their instinctual howls
predictable, thankfully
unlike people driving cars on highways or country roads
or unusually quiet and still people in the woods
both, licensed to kill
animals

this is the eve of the June Full Moon
and as far as the eye can see
fireflies are hovering above the meadow
harmlessly illuminating for their own kind
an incidental gift to bystanders

and as far as the ear can hear
frogs in a wet woodland are
harmlessly singing for their own kind
an incidental gift to passersby

if i illuminate myself from within
or sing my intuitive songs,
for myself, harmlessly,
and you, and you, and you
do too

would not that be an incidental gift
to our fellow passersby

 

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