Today's poem is by Maurice Manning

On a Woodpecker Drinking from a Knothole Still Full of the Last Rain

I'm not always Mr. Sunshine, but
today I was, the sun reared up

like a horse in me, well, not a horse—
entire, but part of one, the withers

a good horse holds his withers high;
it's a matter of stature and strength, not pride—

I could have carried something heavy
the way the sun carries out the day,

no matter. Sometimes days can weigh
you down and when they do it's good

to have a little horse in you
above your heart, but below your head,

in the field sloping down your shoulders.
The sun will shine it once when rising

and once again when going down;
the time of shining lasts a day

and then a longer day of lasting.
I hope you don't outsmart yourself,

I hope you won't let woe befall you,
I hope the sun will rise and set

in you one day. I hope you'll feel
what a horse must feel with a wagon hitched

behind it: the pulling of a load,
the stiff wheels turning, the kick

of knowing all you'll ever need
to know is behind you in the wagon

and not a burden you can't hear.
How's that for a sunny disposition?

Copyright © 2006 Maurice Manning All rights reserved
from Lyric
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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