America #1 (Thoughts from a Rocking Chair)

1. It is pleasant to talk of work, rest, personal spirituality, of the tragedy of old Smith's farmland untouched by tractors for near a generation, or of morning prayers and the flight of the gold finches.

2.

Here, in this pipe dream of the American free,

I saw the children running through water spouting sidewalks, dancing the hokey-pokey to radio-Disney, learning the joys of play-pretend wars, of vigilant violence between marines and jihadi militants, or cowboys and Indians, whichever;

I saw We The People dancing to death yet again, and buying news like movies, like politics, like bubblegum and Coca-Cola.

I saw this all from the porch rocker at old Smith's place, from the farmland untouched by tractors for near a generation.

3.

I could sit here, in this rocker overlooking fallow fields, prayer beads in hand, and dream pretty poems of a people's judgment.

I could watch the gold finches come, and leave, and come again, and call this contemplation.

I could name it Walden, or Eden, or the Buffalo River Valley.

These, too, are luxurious pastimes.

4.

Other-world children marshal language like missiles and speak of loosing fathers and goats with the same dry eyes;

I wonder whether they hope to work their father's fallow fields, to consider again the morning prayer of peace, to hear again the gold-finch's Spring song.