[ToC]

 

“LIFE IS LONG AND FULL OF ACTION AND COLOR”

Charlotte Pence

The opossum pulls herself up to the next
maple branch,    her tail         a fifth limb.
                    The higher             she climbs
    the thinner the bark,
unlike       the scabby trunk   where wood
          soft as berries.
A nest of fledging robins      close enough   
she can see   one   glinty,        stand-alone  
piece of hatchling fuzz.
          A thing so new to this earth it lacks
all color.                                      She strikes
 with her fat-rippled body,  and the bird,
if it opened its eyes,       would have seen
        the thousand colors of this thing
we call living.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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I've been reading a lot about evolution, specifically the anatomical changes that made us able to live in communities. And part of this study has involved reading Darwin's writings—which offer many little poetic gimmes—such as this title. The poem began there, and I found myself omitting linking verbs as I wrote which later made sense to me. By definition, linking verbs express being or experiencing. And this poem hints at the opposite of that--of living too briefly for experience to register.