Archive for July 4th, 2008

I was sitting at an intersection today and two monarch
butterflies were doing some dance known only to them right
in front of me. I stood there enthralled by the beauty and
the wonder of it all. And very shortly a car came along
and only one butterfly remained. It danced for just a second
as if it were still in the dance with it’s mate and then gently flew off.
No concept of time, in the moment, not grieving, not like me
on the road, crying.

I know what Abraham says about death, I am not always able
to wrap my heart around it. And so for some reason, there’s always
a reason isn’t there?…I was called to pick up Billy Collins’ book
of poems: Nine Horses and the poem I randomly opened
the book to – spoke of this very thing, an homage of sorts. And so,
therein I found some comfort…

Ave Atque Vale

Even though I managed to swerve around the lump
of groundhog lying on its back on the road,
he traveled with me for miles,

a quiet passenger
who passed the time looking out the window
enjoying this new view of the woods

he once hobbled around in,
sleeping all day and foraging at night,
rising sometimes to consult the wind with his snout.

Last night he must have wandered
onto the road, hoping to slip
behind the curtain of soft ferns on the other side.

I see these forms every day
and always hope the next one up ahead
is a shredded tire, a discarded brown coat,

but there they are, assuming
every imaginable pose for death’s portrait.
This one I speak of, for example,

the one who road with me for miles,
reminded me of a small Roman citizen,
with his prosperous belly,

his faint smile,
and his one stiff forearm raised
as if he were still alive, still hailing Caesar.

~Billy Collins

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