“Sit, rest, work.
Alone with yourself, never weary.
On the edge of the forest
Live joyfully without desire.”
"Chewing Down My Barn"
A boutique bat house high on the barn,
yet they turn up their noses.
Do they expect a flashing vacancy sign?
Too late to return it after ten years,
despite mosquitoes in a stagnant pond.
Pangs of ingratitude.
Blue birds come each year to sniff
our well-wrought dwellings,
located according to their own
building manual, sheltering
trees behind, open sward ahead,
only to take up at an undeserving
neighbor’s pool, rules be damned.
Blame the Tea Party.
The demanding wren nests
behind the garage work bench,
insisting we leave a door open at night.
How does she make the point without words?
How is it to be indentured to a bird?
“It just isn’t his idea,” my wife says
of cat Max, Prince of Siam, who spurns
my best offer to enjoy a soft rocker
on a balmy screened porch, no matter
my lecture on feline health and fresh air.
He chooses to stalk a skink by the stove,
and later bellow Gregorian Chant
in baritone on his nightly rounds.
(I want what I want, Big White Guy.)
Old age slows me down to open my eyes.
Wasn’t I born to lop off mountain tops for coal,
stride the moon with grand “pronunciamentos,”
discover the secrets of mind/brain,
tear down medieval papal absolutism,
map ocean floors, and save the world
for democracy, God and whatever?
Yet this morning on the driveway,
I find myself picking up
an ailing carpenter bee with a fallen leaf,
glad he could still buzz or growl at me,
to place him under low juniper shade
near his comrades who are busy
chewing down my barn.
Other seasons, other voices, other choices.
--Eugene C. Bianchi
Athens, GA, July 13, 2014
(photo by Michelle Castleberry)