Twenty-One



			I

today i ran over the hills,
among the yellow buttercups
and the green grass.

yesterday i ran in the woods,
where all the leaves are brown and red,
and my feet make crackling noises when i run.

tomorrow i'm going to run on the beach,
and feel the cool mud in between my toes
and the hot sun on my shoulders.

every day i am running -
running from the black bird;
he tries to catch me but i'm too fast for him.

look out, the crow is catching up to everyone,
even me.
once he catches you, you're done for.

sometimes i look up and the sun is setting,
but other times it seems like years
just before lunchtime.

this morning i looked in the mirror,
and i saw all sorts of colours,
but none of them were the colour of me.


			II

the hour of pursuit has passed,
so I have accepted my fate;
the rook now rests on my shoulder:
a black reminder of what i was running from.
beauty has revealed her disfigured head,
and life will ever be life to the last;
the hour for pursuit has passed.

a life of death is before me,
for there is no hope where the crow resides,
and only dark wisdom in what the black bird whispers.
the sages are wrong:  death is the only constant,
for many births are still
and taxes imply a nation that will last
on this retched planet we call home.

the day of sorrow is begun,
for now i must walk with weary feet
down paths that show their shadows
long after the sun has set.
a single tear falls 
and splinters into a thousand memories
of times when i was able to run.


			III

wretched I have been, but shall be so no longer.
i have wasted enough life
for three men,
yet seven men 
could not possibly have been as blessed.
i look up and see 
that all i knew is still all i know;
with time has come to me again the wisdom
hidden by that bird
for so many, many years.
it is the truth which does not change:
joy is seeing the sun cut through the trees;
happiness is running down a hill,
and leaping with abandon into a pile of newly raked leaves;
and life is the contrast between the sun and the mud.
once we make our way off of the wet ground
(if we wait long enough),
the sun will dry the earth
so that we can simply scrape away the dirt,
and run once more unhindered 
upon the green hills.


					February 29, 1993


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1993 by Nandor