A long branch
Hooked in some miraculous moment
Of windy flight.
Pulled towards the earth
With its mold of leaves,
by the branch of the tall, great tree
whose dusky bark
lit by the angle
of the dying light.
was once on the trunk of what had been
Hooked by a small fork
Set in a new position
It had never yet considered.
When I was younger
Such seeming impermanence
Tempted me to help gravity in its work.
Throwing sticks and stones in play
to knock it from such uncertain fate
Dancing, joyous with the game of it.
Now that I am old
I see the way in which
Its graceful equilibrium
Is yet another gentle motion
In the flowing stillness
Of the forest.
And I sit and feel the quiet
Of its breath.
Remembering the Big Obsidian Flow, Newberry Caldera, Oregon
The black stone that is not stone but
a piece of earth’s mysterious bowels
Astonished by its appearance in the oxygenated landscape
Its molecules frozen in that millisecond of emergence.
We, the humans, see what it can be.
It is the knife that cuts both ways
Slices atom from atom
Parting astonishment from astonishment
So that we can slice so thin
That even flesh does not pause in its production of cell upon cell
And has no recognition of the parting.
It is like the bird,
Cutting the air for such a brief moment that
Air needs not know its passing.
From where has this blackness come,
From where this sharp flight?
What can we do but find it
Somewhere in the inventory
Of the soul.