Friday, June 18, 2010

We were standing by the road


We were standing by the road,
seven of us and a small boy.
We had just rescued a yellow swallowtail
disabled on the pavement when a car
approached too fast.  I turned to make sure
of the boy, and my old border collie
Nell, too slow coming across,
was hit, broken all to pieces, and died
at once, while the car sped on.
And I cried, not thinking what
I meant, "God damn!" And I wish
all automobiles in Hell,
where perhaps they already are.
Nell's small grave, opening
at the garden's edge to receive her
out of this world's sight forever,
reopens many graves.  Digging,
the old man grieves for his old dog
with all the grief he knows,
which seems again to be approaching
enough, though he knows there is more.
How simple to be dead! - the only
simplification there is, in fact, Thoreau
to the contrary notwithstanding.
Nell lay in her grave utterly still
under the falling earth, the world
all astir above, a million leaves
alive in the wind, and what do we know?
~ Wendell Berry
(Leavings, Sabbaths, 2005)