We are, and always have been, subjects
of the weather, of the blazing sun
and phasing moon, the swirling winds
and tides—subjects, lackeys to the Queen’s
whims and oversights—all men’s progress
subject to a careless sleeve. We think
we know her moods, read the signs,
taste change, but wait for instruction.

We are among the insects of the grasses,
our labors short-lived and forgotten
on this planet, with our real selves
but a mumble in the background.
We must learn to sing, find a voice
to harmonize with every changing
circumstance—a steady rhythm
we can dance to without stumbling.

No one of us can save the world
its pain, far greater than we care
to imagine, but before us each
new day, a place to put our hearts
and hands to work—opportunities
to improve the space in which we live—
a contagious caring running beneath
the outrageous currents we can’t control.



WPC(1)–“Forces of Nature”


6 responses to “SUBJECTS

  1. Thanks for that one! Learning to sing harmony is the easiest and the hardest for me in music, people, and land.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As an alto, I can identify with your music analogy. Insects are often reviled or disliked, but necessary in the fabric of life on earth (although there are certainly some I could do without, mosquitoes being high on that list.)


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter Notehelfer

    You write with a razor sharp pen . . . Also love the WB quote with which you begin: we must learn to resist the current of our culture . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked the epigram, Peter, but I’ve since edited it out, thinking it may have detracted from the poem.

      let us quiet our hearts, my brothers,
      and settle down for a change
      to picking up after ourselves
      and a few centuries of honest work.

               – Wendell Berry (“Anglo-Saxon Protestant Heterosexual Men”)

      I find his poetry is always a good place for me to start, but often the epigrams don’t fit the finished poem.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So all my best is dressing old words new,
    Spending again what is already spent:
    For as the sun is daily new and old,
    So is my love still telling what is told.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature | WKJ Photography

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