Today's poem is by Maura Stanton

God's Ode to Creation

Now there shall be tum-tiddly-um, and tum-tiddly-um,
hey—presto! scarlet geranium!
        —D.H. Lawrence

Today's the kind of day when I feel good
about that dazzling stuff I've made down there,
everything so mixed up that even lies
turn out to be the truth. The legendary
amaranth, for example, somebody insists
they saw it growing down in Hell, and presto!
not only does it have a genus, and seeds,
but a real chemical formula so everyone
can dye their underwear dark purplish red.
You give me credit for the natural,
flame trees, tansy, sleek dangerous leopards,
and even tiny mites like the golden neotode
worming down into the rich potato plant,
the jerboa, the noon, and the stargazer perch,
but I'm the author of the artificial, too,
those bolts of homespun Khaddar cloth, and guns,
concertos by Mozart, and tiny micro chips.
I've always loved the way the invisible
gets to be visible, my big winds measured
by the Beaufort Scale, so that a sailor
blown off course by Force 11 knows
the velocity of the storm that downed his ship
and understands, as he slowly starves to death
on a rocky desert island without coconut palms,
that the time between new moons, lunation,
is divided into 29 days, 12 hours,
44 minutes and 2.8 seconds.
                            What glorious precision!
It's too bad, I know you're thinking, that my rules
don't allow me to help that sunburned sailor
and I do regret that a Java sparrow didn't drop
some seeds from the mainland two centuries ago
so that a bunch of fruit trees could take root.
No need to impute malevolence to me,
or even indifference, for I feel bad
about what happens most days, looking down
at another execution in Huntsville,
sighing over another quake in Turkey.
But today the blue planet, wreathed in clouds,
looks extra lovely as it spins through space,
and I want a little praise for my handiwork,
my fleecy altocumulus, my silvery mists,
even that fancy stuff you built for me,
pagodas, skyscrapers, the Eiffel Tower.
Prayers are rare these days—instead I get
millions of poems constructed out of words
that sizzle in three thousand languages,
a few of them paeans, but most ironic jabs.
But do I zap the ones who mock? I don't.
At night I see them sweat and yearn, dreaming
of that one thing I never made, and won't.

Copyright © 2006 Maura Stanton All rights reserved
from River Styx
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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