There was a small blue and grey backpack hanging in a tree on Hornsey Rd.
It’s zip hanging open, as though it had something to say.
I noticed it, perhaps, because I’d been listening to you this morning,
because you remind me to notice, to trust that noticing is worth my time and my attention.
There was a black cat curled in the shade at the top of the steps,
looking up at me as I passed by.
So close I thought it might be startled,
might make a sudden move off the path,
down the steps back, I presumed, to it’s home.
But it simply gazed back at me,
unafraid, unconcerned by my passing.
I imagined a different life this morning,
A life of waking early, standing at the backdoor with my notebook.
A life, as you put it, of catching flies with honey rather than vinegar.
If I wrote about the beauty of the world,
the cat lying in the shade,
the changing moods of my friend, Lyall Bay.
If I wrote about the beauty and courage of people making a life,
for themselves and their families, despite everything.
Would that be enough?
The problem, you said, is that your poems only work,
on people who are already open.
They don’t work on the heads of industry.
They don’t work on people who continue to destroy the planet,
to pollute your beloved rivers and ocean,
and exploit the lives of man, woman and beast,
in exchange for more wealth.
You are growing old.
Your wild places are disappearing.
You leave us your poems,
and this question.
What then should I do,
with this one wild and precious life?