Wednesday, April 16, 2014

challenged by a big city

New York City

there is a deep rightness to the perfection of a flower,
in the purpose of a wild wolf,
in the full emptiness of a natural landscape,

I am challenged by a big city,
how divorced from the earth is feels to me to be:

pavement and sidewalks and buildings
instead of dirt and grass and trees,
grids of streets and boxes within boxes of buildings,
comfortable cages within which to work and to play,
and to build lives I am sure can be rich and full,

though, to me, I like to visit, not live in such a big city,

I do love the subways,
to clatter through the ground
as if we’re nutrients in arteries,
and I like the streets which are a cacophony of horns and languages,
and people bustling from one place to the other,  rarely meeting one’s eye,
and finding meaning in a store, in another, in the pursuit of dreams,
in the rightness of a job, in the tragedy of a lost way,
and it’s hard for me to not pick up the ubiquitous trash,

great buildings thrust solid and sure into the sky

as humans create in concert to show that we can,
part of us fears too much pride, 
and, like those Old Testament voices,
we can fear the city, 
I wonder if those terrorists feared the Twin Towers as a new Towel of Babel,

I move through New York, entranced by a grandeur of vision,
even Central Park is excessive in its size,
in its glacier-scoured bedrock boulders,

profusions of daffodils, and flirting geese raising a ruckus,
great towering shields of buildings surround the natural luxuriance of the park,

a lone saxophone player wails for heart and purse,

when I fly back home,
I appreciate the comfortable box of our home,
and I feel the rightness of trees and garden and sky above it,

of how I need the grounding of the first truths--
those that were here before us,
and those that will be here after us.

by Henry H. Walker
April 12, ’14

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