Just as I wonder whether it's going to die, the orchid blossoms and I can't explain why it moves my heart, why such pleasure comes from one small bud on a long spindly stem, one blood red gold flower opening at mid-summer, tiny, perfect in its hour. Even to a white- haired craggy poet, it's purely erotic, pistil and stamen, pollen, dew of the world, a spoonful of earth, and water. Erotic because there's death at the heart of birth, drama in those old sunrise prisms in wet cedar boughs, deepest mystery in washing evening dishes or teasing my wife, who grows, yes, more beautiful because one of us will die.
Black Marsh Eclogue
Although it is midsummer, the great blue heron
holds darkest winter in his hunched shoulders,
those blue-turning-gray clouds
rising over him like a storm from the Pacific.
He stands in the black marsh
more monument than bird, a wizened prophet
returned from a vanished mythology.
He watches the hearts of things
and does not move or speak. But when
at last he flies, his great wings
cover the darkening sky, and slowly,
as though praying, he lifts, almost motionless,
as he pushes the world away.