Nature Is

After Seamus Heaney

Go down from the mountains to the coastal plain
before it gets so hot that you wish
to stay indoors. On a March morning

The swamp is almost inviting. New leaves
dapple earth with just enough shade to let
the unvarnished sun raise color in your cheeks

While a north breeze cools the ground to keep
snakes torpid and ticks at rest. You can hear
the trees flecked with warblers, and wonder why

You never thought such a place could welcome.
nature is not fickle, but rather patient.
go down further still, east. The swamp becomes scrub

Straining at life in wind-scoured dunes. Cold sky and sea
blend, stitched by breaching dolphins and diving terns.
nature is this, but also a shark-bitten loon

flopping to the beach and dying as you stroke its neck.
You are not like nature, straining for interpretation
from what is content to be. Go up and come down again.

Image: Congaree National Park, Richland County, SC, March 2022.

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