My poems podcast, Words by Winter, can be found here.
The pink stucco and stone house across the street is slanty, sprawling, and old, with a few apartments carved out of what at one point must have been a single-family house. I think of it as the Francis of Assisi house – the place exudes an easygoing generosity and a happiness with the earth it’s built on.
Animals think so too. Squirrels, birds, and rabbits abound in the yard. A family of ducks has lived there for years, right here in the middle of the city. The inhabitants of the Francis of Assisi house put out birdbaths and a tiny pool for them. The ducks fly to nearby rooftops, including ours, and perch there to survey the block.
When walking home I sometimes see a car or two waiting patiently for the ducks to cross the street. Neighbors stroll by to watch the ducks. The ducks live happily on our block in the duck world that they and everyone else seem to love. They remind me of this beautiful poem.
Because, by Grace Schulman
Because, in a wounded universe, the tufts
of grass still glisten, the first daffodil
shoots up through ice-melt, and a red-tailed hawk
perches on a cathedral spire; and because
children toss a fire-red ball in the yard
where a schoolhouse façade was scarred by vandals,
and joggers still circle a dry reservoir;
because a rainbow flaunts its painted ribbons
and slips them somewhere underneath the earth;
because in a smoky bar the trombone blares
louder than street sirens, because those
who can no longer speak of pain are singing;
and when on this wide meadow in the park
a full moon still outshines the city lights,
and on returning home, below the North Star,
I see new bricks-and-glass where the Towers fell;
and I remember my lover’s calloused hand
soften in my hand while crab apple blossoms
showered our laps, and a yellow rose
opened with its satellites of orange buds,
because I cannot lose the injured world
without losing the world, I’ll have to praise it.