“‘Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)'”

by Robert Gibb

“The state goes to ruin,” said Tu Fu,
“but mountains and rivers survive.”
Sounding a lot like Robinson Jeffers
From his outpost on the Pacific Rim,
Gray stone carted from the quarries
Of the sea, and hawks on good days
Riding thermals higher than his tower,
The wind about their wings.

These days, when the ruins of the state
Include droughts and tsunamis,
The riddled carpets of the permafrost,
How say what survives? And yet
I’ve no more hit that question mark
Than a Red-shouldered hawk
Swoops down as though in answer
And lights in the tree by my window.

With his epaulets and weskit of raw-
Sienna stripes, he’s solid as a lynchpin,
Centered amid the wintry limbs
Where he takes in the lay of the land.
It’s a long way from the river timber
Among which he’s been fledged,
Though there’s nothing end-of-nature
About him. That is, at least not yet.

 

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