A poem by Deborah Cummins:


The sun is suspended

in the spruce’s lowest branches. No wind

has startled the oaks to rattle.

The only voices are the gulls’, the warblers’,

and nothing in their language

signifies to me expectation.


Oh, that I were capable

of such translation. To think

that because my eyes are now open,

I’ve put the whole thing into motion—

the oldsquaw’s low tide probing,

the osprey’s flight from its nest

of warp and sticks.

That because I throw back the covers,

step into my shows, only now

will the road’s curve beckon.


Like saying because the moon

has disappeared, she no longer exerts

her pull, and the sea needn’t obey

its mistress. Like saying I bear no similarity

to flotsam, along for the ride.

Here’s her website.

Considering last week’s thoughts on free will, this poem is timely. While the idea of putting “the whole thing in motion” simply by waking up (i.e. choosing, on a continual basis, to refuse suicide) might appear slightly ego-centric, in that the osprey (and gull and warbler, et al.) probably care little whether the author wakes up or not, it does at the same time evoke the connection to all things: the relationships that abound in a living ecosystem. And for that matter, simply existing in the world by definition changes it. And even further still, even suicide is as much an act as it is a negation of action. So, we can’t really help changing the course of history, once we’re born. In that regard, we have no choice but to make choices.



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