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July 26, 1999

by Loren Emery
 

 PUDDLE

Little pond, miniature Walden
How far have you come
From the moist, secret forest
Where my busy, pulling career
Never lets me go? How far
Have you journeyed with the mist
To meet me here?

Here no timid creature
Steals to refresh and rest
In the moving, sniffling silence
Where every life touches another
By touching you. Instead
Busy, hurrying, functioning
Lives are stacked, side by side
But touching not. Oh, muddy bed,
An accident of Man's great plan
To make this world, you've tried.

A puddle. A brother.
A brown, unshaped spot
Disorder on the green and white
Mosaic of this world
Designed by the hand of Man.
As I am disorder by my way
Of seeing folly in Reason and yet
Going as Reason goes, taking the form
Offered as the noble Plan,
Created by the mind of Man.

Or is it? Or is the spot
That marks your being proof
Enough that another Hand
guides and smiles and waits
While Man, that forger of Order
Squares and evens. Then
As a parent steadied a falt'ring step
Saves his child from too much
Order, and with a wiser touch
Eases the stern, regular line
With a puddle.

But Man will prevail. Soon
Your basin will be gone.
You cannot lie there in a heap
Like so much straw. So away
As myself, to another spot
Where the world cries
For disorder and peace,
A place where we both can sleep
And awake in the sunny dawn.

Then off, me on the dusty track,
You to the sky to ride a cloud
And splinter down another place,
Farewell, my misfit friend.
Yet I feel no sadness now;
No excess of Man's great work
Can close the world to me.
A quiet chord of my soul is free
As yours is free.

We share a secret, little friend,
A tragic, funny joke on life.
Those who mark are marked,
Those who fence are caged.
But thee and me, unbent, unlined
Shapeless, free, of little worth
Own the world! Who can deny
A puddle or a dreamer?
Who can fence an idea
Or square a cloud?

So go, soar, evaporate, friend.
All I ask is just a place,
A time to sit, away from the care
Of the timed and measured life.
Go. I will meet you there.


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