On Looking for Models

Alan Dugan - 1923-2003
The trees in time
have something else to do
besides their treeing. What is it. 
I'm a starving to death
man myself, and thirsty, thirsty
by their fountains but I cannot drink 
their mud and sunlight to be whole. 
I do not understand these presences 
that drink for months
in the dirt, eat light, 
and then fast dry in the cold. 
They stand it out somehow, 
and how, the Botanists will tell me. 
It is the "something else" that bothers 
me, so I often go back to the forests.

More by Alan Dugan

Plague of Dead Sharks

Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes? 
The wading, wintered pack-beasts of the feet 
slough off, in spring, the dead rind of the shoes' 
leather detention, the big toe's yellow horn
shines with a natural polish, and the whole 
person seems to profit. The opposite appears 
when dead sharks wash up along the beach 
for no known reason. What is more built 
for winning than the swept-back teeth, 
water-finished fins, and pure bad eyes 
these old, efficient forms of appetite 
are dressed in? Yet it looks as if the sea 
digested what is wished of them with viral ease 
and threw up what was left to stink and dry. 
If this shows how the sea approaches life 
in its propensity to feed as animal entire, 
then sharks are comforts, feet are terrified, 
but they vacation in the mystery and why not? 
Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes?: 
what the sun burns up of it, the moon puts back.