TWO DECIMAL SONNETS
every hair of your head will stand up and hum and sing
The great green YES that sweeps the days up one by one,
unbuttons them and kisses spring into their bones;
the god of goldenrod and dog-rose, hawk and peewit –
whatever this is called, the year is bright with it,
fresh as watercress and hot enough to burn.
I’m hanged if I’ll be solemn. I am drunk on light.
That little bulb of bullfinch praising hawthorn,
the blackbird unlacing his dark song; both are lit.
It shines from mountain snowdrifts, calm and wild.
The year is bright with it, whatever it is called.
Not even from high mountains does the world seem so wide
A world that holds both porpoises and strawberries
is wild enough. The rest is background noise –
red buses, Stilton, Istanbul. Ankle deep in sand and
clean of other company, we only hear the wind;
crash and pummel, clout and cuff. The air is exercised.
It birls around the bay in thunderclaps. We stand
handfast and giddy, feel our hairs lift in the breeze.
This, then, is all the noise that counts. We understand
those pebbles in the bathroom stand for storms. Things
change. Now don’t just stand there. Sing.
Poet's Note: Poem titles are quotes from the naturalist John Muir.