October 10, 2008

Sam Hamill

VIGILANCE

Trees, shrubs, grass—everything
      glistened in late February frost
as first rays of sunlight
      filtered through the woods.
I stood at the window,
      coffee mug in hand,
and watched the first spring robin
      hop and scratch and eat,
scratch and eat, first under
      lace-leaf maples, then
along the edge of the path
      that leads out
to my studio. I watched,
      for almost an hour,
a happy bird enjoy a feast.

And for an hour, I put
      away all thoughts
of our president in Europe
      renewing threats,
put away all thoughts of
      people decimated
by a great tsunami,
      or of the latest casualties
in Iraq. Enough of that.
      Give me
one moment with a robin
      and a sunrise,
late winter’s harsh yellow light,
      and crack
of frozen gravel underfoot
      as I go out to work—
frightening off the bird—

a little wonder
      in a suffering world,
a little delight
      in a world of pain.
And then begin again.

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005