Today's poem is by Roger Mitchell

The Meadow

I hum the meadow, broad and flat,
and a little marshy at one end,
with numerous grasses stuffed,
with bushy matter dotted, snakes,
and a multitude of flowers,
all ringed with cottonwood and elm,
with bug noise, bird song everywhere,
and air, always a little air
moving, or great gales thrashing.
A world in which the weed is free,
and there is no rancor anywhere,
except perhaps among the birds,
who warble when they squabble.
The sun looks down and smiles.
It sees itself reflected there,
a round, bland glow,
a slowness in the scheme of things.
It wants to join us there, and does,
turning the tiny head of the six-
petalled yellow star grass upward
and the tall, thick-stemmed rattlesnake weed.
What are those clumps of broad, long leaves
with the small, gray roll of leaf inside?
I want to know, but have no need
to know today. I run my finger
along the hairy stem instead,
and the female red-winged blackbird flips
out of the grass ten feet away.
I know a nest is near, and though
I'd like to see the little eggs
couched in their cup of woven grass—
just look, and never touch—I say
out loud, OK, I won't go near.
I know the eggs are there, the three-
to-five my bird book says there are,
pale blue and spotted brown and purple.
I walk away, and the meadow breathes
a sigh. Sometimes I wish I weren't
a big galoot who puts his foot
down there where a hundred thousand things
live out their lives in half a day.
And I wish I knew a way to end
this song, since, like a meadow, songs
can lead the singer into sand,
marshy places where the boot
sucks down and the muskrat runs for cover.
So, like a meadow, I'll just go
up to these cottonwoods and stop.

Copyright © 2004 Roger Mitchell All rights reserved
from Delicate Bait
The University of Akron Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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