Walking past the farmer’s fields, you are struck
by the watermelon smell of mown grass
not noticed before. One thing is always
like another thing, not to supplement
but to vary, to give us reason to
demand no less. The clouds have polished up
the sky like pewter plate, the air so still
you might be thunder-deaf, and in the lull
you hear the trees raining from their leaves.
The light is buttery with promises
and the far meadow peppered with grackles,
and all is well being what it is and
isn’t, as if impossible to tell
the dogrose from the raspberry flower.
A runnel of bells trickling from the broke-
down barn is like a distant carillon.
Then all is quiet once again until
a quarrel of crows and squirrels over
granaries of pine cones breaks the silence,
which is not like breaking bread but breaking
bone. For even when one thing is not like
another, it is like another thing
that grates against the need to celebrate.
Walking past the farmer’s fields, you remark,
despite the red slash of a sudden fox
and the cry of an unseen creature in
dark wood, which is not like milk in the pail
but blood in the ear, something tells you still,
amid the difference and because of it,
you must love the world better than you do.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 Number 7, on page 24
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