We are taught to be
moderate. To live intelligently.
– Jack Gilbert (“The Danger of Wisdom”)
From the shaded corner of my eye, I watch
the old cows follow my hands, measure pauses
between steps, hang back from the gate
trying to decide. They have learned
the smell of urgency I deny—camouflage
with monotone interposed by gentle coos
and ever-so-small handfuls of fresh alfalfa
left like breadcrumbs. They forsake great space,
fall in line, cross the threshold to be confined
as I walk among them, yet they have not lost
their fear and passion I can ignite
into wild-eyed stampede if I have lied,
if I let doubt or anxiety escape my mind.
Moderation: sage advice for slow progress
that without passion becomes meaningless.