Steve Katz: On Selling the Peaceable Kingdom

Fall '10 TOC

Bye-bye sweet stumps these driftwoods
I hefted and rolled from the shore up along
The trail then heaved them onto my deck
And placed them just so that in the evening
We can sit there to watch the sun go down.
Pebbles hammered by the breakers into their
Endgrain , wood polished at the shore
To a dull opalescence.  We look across
The tiger-lilies burning orange, through
Red-berried showy mountain ash, across
Serviceberry, chokecherry, pin cherry,
Raspberry and blackberry, primrose
Purple orchis woven through sapling
Fir and spruce, spotted jopi weed and pale
Violet fireweed stitched into the mix.
Goldenrod, white everlastings, we are such
Fools to name them all; but I’ll never
Disregard the gooseberry, the pinnacled
Dogwood, the homely alder, patches
Of fern, and threatenings of thistle.

From here we can look through a shifting
Web of ravens, and gulls, the threadings
Of marshhawk, bald eagle drapes into
A fabric of white-throated sparrow
And song-sparrow and bunting and yellow
Warbler and hummingbird and grosbeak
And finch and all the rest.  He soars
Above the tiny piping plover, sandpiper,
terns and gannets and kittiwakes
Among the great blue herons out to sea
Where the sun sets behind the pilot whales
That baste a stitch across the calm
And the fishermen out to take a cup of rum
In their boats as the sun goes down,
An ecstasy of lavender and green.  We sit
In a bathing of names spectacular we are
On these stumps.  Bye-bye sweet stumps.

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