a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
smog and drizzle above the power plant,
slides to an oak
branch where it opens its wings to dry and cleanse.
The memory of an extinct bird flutters in the underbrush.
I am listening to the tree frogs recite their endless lectures.
As the haze burns off the sun begins to set:
the more intense
the color, the more polluted the air.
We don’t really have
a name for that more than its false beauty.
On some walks
we see no tracks, hear no birds or insects.
It’s the darkness
not a deer that rises from the underbrush.
It’s bottles that
outnumber the fish in Chickamauga Creek.
If only we could
cradle the earth in our arms.
I am watching the squirrels
drop chestnut pieces onto the drive so that the sparrows
will pick up the scraps,
as later the racoon will clean up
whatever it can from our compost heap.
one thing can speak to another.
We have so many words
for this, and so few that have taken root.
I watched a starling perched on the back of a deer,
picking parasites off its hide.
Today, someone hangs
a noose, another burns a mosque, or shoots at
What the Red Tail screamed, what
the tree frogs lectured, was that there is less and less
in their world that will, in the end, be there to forgive us.
Richard Jackson is the author of 17 books of poetry including The Heart as Framed: New and Select Poems, Dispatches, Where The Wind Comes From and Broken Horizons, and 12 books of essays, interviews, translations, editions and anthologies. Winner of Guggenheim, Fulbright, NEA, NEH and Witter Bynner Fellowships and the order of Freedom from the President of Slovenia for his literary and humanitarian work during the Balkan wars, he has also edited 30 chapbooks from eastern European poets. His poems have been translated into 17 languages.