Here’s the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.
Into the Winter
In a far field of broken turf and mud,
a quarter horse stands statue-still.
The sunless sky trades its feathery mist
for twisting steam from out of the pasture thaw.
A puff of breath betrays a living death.
The horse is dying; legs are stiff as stone.
Where once he raced from line to picket line
of ragged timber that rims the rolling farm,
today he labors long at standing still.
We All Start at Zero
The practiced hands of the good-humored doctor
pull the infant out of the warm duskiness
of an amniotic ocean into the unfamiliar glare
of delivery room lights. It is a rough business,
coming into the world, but every person
in the room is pulling for the startled new arrival
to survive, grow, thrive, and come of age.
In this instant, we align ourselves with God
to affirm the wholesome generative forces of the world.
We all start at zero. Look at the face
of the newborn child. Where is the theological construct
of original sin? Do you see it? No?
The swaddled baby is laid on the mother’s chest
and begins to learn the ambivalent ways of humankind.
The Politics of No
No, we are not bewhiskered woodsmen posing
with a fabled misery whip 12-feet long
emerging from the sepia history of real men
or frugal, gaunt survivalists riding out
the Great Depression or the khaki war machine
fighting to the death against the Axis powers
or fearless astronauts landing on the moon.
As the swaggering first citizens of a unipolar world,
we are soft from indolent years of privileged ease.
We are soft without a great enemy to fight
so we look within and fight among ourselves.
We harden into corpulence and intellectual sloth
as nimbler nations strive to take us down,
not by the savagery of war, but with whispered lies
designed to divide us into two contending camps
dueling to the death of the great American experiment
of broad-shouldered accomplishment of big things.
No, my friend, we are not that nation anymore.
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Dave Baldwin retired in 2017 from the Walt Disney Company after more than 40 years as a technical writer and editor. He lives in Lake Stevens.