Sunday, November 12, 2006

Blue Sky and Lost Leaves

The sun is bright and the sky is blue. Last night we had a lot of wind and a bit of rain, and it brought a lot of the leaves down. All sign of the raking I did yesterday has disappeared completely. Seeing this intensified my wish I hadn't gone out at all--if I hadn't, I would have also missed my part in a chain of events that led to the death of one of the neighborhood's stray cats. It ran into the road in front of a car; the driver stood in the road weeping, saying, "It was the same color as the leaves!" We took the cat to a veterinary clinic but all they could do was euthanize it.

Here's a poem for the cat, for Ruth and Tom who looked after it for years, and for the driver, whose day (had it been good up until then?) was shattered by brutal randomness. It's from Gary Snyder's The Back Country, and called "Burning the Small Dead" My ignorance of HTML precludes accurate lineation; the words are right, but they're in the wrong place, so for the real poem, you'll have to get the book:

Burning the small dead
broke from beneath
thick speading
whitebark pine.

a hundred summers
snowmelt rock and air

hiss in a twisted bough.

sierra granite;
mt. Ritter -
black rock twice as old.

Deneb, Altair

windy fire