I work in a downtown setting. Every morning around 7:00 I walk several blocks, about a mile one way through an uninspiring urbanscape, to get a cup of tea. Usually, I encounter a large flock of Canada geese on the broad lawn of the First Baptist Church. They raise their long necks from grazing and nervously look me up and down as I pass. They remind me of this poem depicting a man whose thoughts are arrested and deflated by the presence of necessity - a hungry park goose.
I caught your shadow in the deep pool,
A naked sword of beauty in the dark.
And I read of the white swans at Coole,
And heard the printed voice of the skylark.
The skies were lifted quick from this dull place;
Like Lohengrin I heard the silver bell.
I saw the maiden of Leda’s neat disgrace;
My vision beat historic wings - and fell.
For what of the albatross and wild swan,
Skirting a black sea patch on a salty morn,
While I stand empty - and the voices are gone -
And you cram peanuts and the white popcorn.
I have not known the swan song, though my prayer
Has beat with cygnet wings no slight emotion
To find inanity itself astare,
A goitered goose upon a festered ocean.
And what of Eve, Semiramis, and Sappho?
It is enough - the tale brings tragic hush.
There was a time - but it was long ago!
Perhaps old Moses saw the burning bush.