An Explanation

I, too, love the colorful flowers,
and the soaring, singing birds,
and the up-stretched arms of trees,
who live always in the posture of prayer
and celebration. I, too, have stretched
my arms up and prayed and sang.

I, too, love the faces of children
and of old women, the impossible feats
of builders, the stirring accomplishment
of artists and athletes. I, too, want only
to sing quietly about the wonders of love,
and to walk in peace on this little bit of earth.

But I can’t write or sing, anymore,
about the ordinary grace of the world
while some would tear it down around us.
There is no time to praise or to mourn
all the beauty that used to be
while there is still a chance to save it.

No, I can’t just tend my own garden, leaving
whole fields and forests to burn to bare ground.
I must take up the tools— if only my bare hands
and these bare words— to try to help stop the fire,
so that something beautiful is left for you
to write and sing about in brighter days to come.

kz 2020

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