. . . everything here
apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.—from The Ninth Elegy, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell —for John V. Austin
The aroma of thyme, the line of Norway Pines along a lake of water like blue gas, the cedar porch planks on which I stand looking upward
at Baltimore orioles flitting in and out of the uppermost branches of the gray elm leaves now bright yellow,
the knotted and gnarled dead birch at the end of the porch host to butterflies, bugs, beetles, moths, caterpillars, chipmunks, squirrels,
and bright, red-crested woodpecker breaking sought-after silence as he chips out a hole in the rotting tree in a search for ants
—this is today.
Tomorrow a different view, different sound: church bells will chime as we stare down at the box being lowered into the ground.
What can we do?
The orioles returned to last year’s nest, graceful black heads untouched by our grief. In the tops of trees they call out with a clear flute-like whistle. [End Page 125]
What is our life to them?
We come from nothing to a world of pain and beauty. We come to this place of bright flaming orange, lush leafy green, red, yellow and darkest pine. [End Page 126]
Pamela Wynn is adjunct professor of Poetry, Writing, and Theological Interpretation at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (New Brighton, MI). Author of Diamonds on the Back of a Snake (Laurel Poetry Collective, 2004), she continues to create poems and photograph the surrounding landscape and prairie wildlife. Her poems have appeared in Bryant Literary Review, Water~Stone Review, Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, Christian Century, and Seasons of the Spirit. email@example.com