THE PROCESS

. . . PEOPLE’S WHOLE LIVES DO PASS IN FRONT OF THEIR EYES 
BEFORE THEY DIE.  THE PROCESS IS CALLED “LIVING.”
~Death  (The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett)

Sometimes the hungry baby was left to cry.
The llama at the zoo spat,
someone stole the arrowheads.
A woman in a white dress played a harp by candlelight.
The teacher’s pet got the lead in the play.
Father pulled the sled through the lamplit park in the falling snow.
Later, he started to drink and Mother wouldn’t tell.
There were springs with fragrant crabapple bloom,
and summer crowns of daisy and vetch.
There was a Christmas when everyone had chicken pox.

There was the lover who, after long uphill walks,
after kisses in summer rain, left without saying goodbye.
There was a lover who stayed,
a sister who died,
a child who grew up and went away.
There were hands, eyes, the songs of many birds.
There was good work and disappointing work,
illness that caused pain—yet always
autumn passed with color creeping down the hills
and coyotes gathered under the window to sing
to the mice and the moon

Sometimes there was a year without
noticeable weather, flavor or song;
a moment large enough
to hold a city or a forest.
Often it had to do with being awake:
smelling every single thing,
noticing the way the light shifted,
the arm ached, the sparrow fell.
Always there was the body,
strange receptacle of lust and sleep,
where time and the highway intersected,
where infinity met friends for coffee,
where every passage
was a kind of standing still.

One comment on “THE PROCESS

  1. erieffel says:

    This poem has such wise grace in its details and its scope. It reminds me very much of Mary Oliver. The last stanza, in particular, I love, especially “a moment large enough to hold a city or forest.”

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