The Old Days
In the old days it stayed light until midnight
and rain and snow came up from the ground
rather than down from the sky...
A few political leaders were executed for betraying
the public trust and poets were rationed a gallon
of Burgundy a day. People only died on one day
a year and lovely choruses funneled out
of hospital chimneys where every room had a field
stone fireplace. Some fishermen learned to walk
on water and as a boy I trotted down rivers,
my flyrod at the ready...God and Jesus
didn't need to come down to earth because they were
already here riding wild horses every night
and children were allowed to stay up late to hear
them galloping by. The best restaurants were churches
with Episcopalians serving Provencal, The Methodists Tuscan,
and so on...
Courts were manned by sleeping bears and birds sang
lucid tales of ancient bird ancestors who now fly
in other worlds...Pistol barrels grew delphiniums
and everyone was able to select seven days a year
that they were free to repeat but this wasn't a popular
program. In those days the void whirled
with flowers and unknown wild animals attended
country funerals. All the rooftops in cities were flower
and vegetable gardens...
I could go on but won't. All my evidence
was lost in a fire but not before it was chewed
on by all the dogs that inhabit memory.
One by one they bark at the sun, moon, and stars
trying to draw them closer again.
Some folks are waiting for those events in the Middle East to line up and thus drop the needle on that camel's back that ushers in the end of the world. Maybe, just maybe, we should be listening a little closer every time a dog barks, for their canine cries could one day be strong enough to remember into being once again the way it was in the old days...