And Does the Earth Laugh?
This world is my misfortune and hollow at that.
Tragic jest as it were, I hallow Her:
clothed in Her sin and Her twigs and the insect of Her dirt.
I am the poor-bodied yearling left to die by its Mother.
I follow after Her heel through the mounds of Katahdin,
and when the rocks don’t slip and some cat don’t howl,
I think it Her blessing. And does the earth laugh?
I know Her capable of more than my transgression⎼
In faith, I pray (and these prayers are fish caught
or berries picked or watching stars burn infinite):
Mother, take my odd-fitting admiration alone:
smile down on genuine offer of hymn and lyre
or do you, true, prefer the showmanship of calf and furnace?
The blessed, do they tithe? Do they cut their hands on bark?
Do they let the tadpoles swim over feet? Do they whistle
with the birds about whisky and cider? Do they speak to you?
When I stray from my perch and enter the world, I watch as
they smile with filled gum and crush pomegranate on their palate.
They make their home by the sea. And when I go back to the cave
with my envy stolen, they use it to spice their supper.
I screech at nightfall like something ugly, some beast
come to kill the land. I stare at the full moon with bloodshot eyes,
but they’re more like parsley or largemouth bass or
the grass when it sways in the Aprils before summer.
These eyes stand raged in my Mother’s tones, I think
She would love me jaded o’er burning within.
I am the miserable mammal, Her vexatious vermin.
And when you see the sun rise, know it is Her gift to me.
The sun reflects my shame in that burnt sidereal sneer.
I have one constant prayer, the blessing of estuaries with streams
of my own sight. This is the prayer for harvest and a cup that runneth over.
I’ve always loved my Mother, but there is a child she must hate.