Sunday, October 07, 2012

Faved!: Camille Dungy's Characteristics of Life




A fifth of animals without backbones could be at risk of extinction, say scientists.
-BBC Nature News

Ask me if I speak for the snail and I will tell you
I speak for the snail.
                          speak of underneathedness
and the welcome of mosses,
                                        of life that springs up,
little lives that pull back and wait for a moment.

I speak for the damselfly, water skeet, mollusk,
the caterpillar, the beetle, the spider, the ant.
                                                        I speak
from the time before spinelessness was frowned upon.

Ask me if I speak for the moon jelly. I will tell you
                        one thing today and another tomorrow
        and I will be as consistent as anything alive
on this earth.

              I move as the currents move, with the breezes.
What part of your nature drives you? You, in 
   your cubicle
ought to understand me. I filter and filter and filter 
   all day.

Ask me if I speak for the nautilus and I will be silent
as the nautilus shell on a shelf. I can be beautiful
and useless if that's all you know to ask of me.

Ask me what I know of longing and I will speak of 
   distances
        between meadows of night-blooming flowers.
                                                        I will speak
                        the impossible hope of the firefly.

                                                You with the candle
burning and only one chair at your table must 
   understand
        such wordless desire.

                         To say it is mindless is missing the point.

0 poetic mutterings: