Outside the window, seeds laid on the ledge, A sick dove staggered, pecked, staggered again, And while I watched, it toppled off the edge And lay struggling, then feebly pecked again. I took some water in a small can lid and set it by its unprotesting bill, I built a barrier so it was hid From predators seeking an easy kill. Night came and dawn, and with the morning light I saw the vanity of what I’d done; The dove was there, eyes rigor mortis tight, Flecked feathers golden in the morning sun. I took some comfort in an ancient word, “God knows when sparrows fall,” or any bird.
Chisme, oh that succulent dish sold and served with a side of snide words wrapped in caring concern for your health. People urge you to unpackage your heart. They slop it, boiled or roasted, on a plate of I-told-you-so’s, sumptuous and steaming. They plunge their teeth into chile picante comments, those juicy and spicy words. They wound and scrape, sticking to forks, pitching tongues. People munch their meal, this food. You, too, relish it. Each morsel you savor. Until the flavor floats and reaches your stomach. You chew and wonder why the special of the day tastes so familiar.
A curving trail—the callused field obscures it until we shovel out the clotted brick, lug a ton or two of sand to fit trenches, level rumpled earth, correct courses. A mallet stuns a thumb, new blisters bud as self-impressed we shout, “This row is done!” but then a kid names names, prefers George Toad, Kate Cricket, slaps William Mosquito, pats Barkly, unleashed, our best company. We rest and share cold drinks. David brings homemade muffins, burned, blueberry plenty. Sun flickers around us, summer’s wings. Yet sand, we need more sand! Deer watch from trees while we adjust the pathways on our knees.
The diaries of World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon have been digitized and made available to the public by the University of Cambridge. Sassoon, a British soldier, was quickly disillusioned by the war and became an outspoken war critic. His diaries feature poetry, prose, and drawings and include his 1917 antiwar “Soldier’s Declaration,” which got him committed to a hospital for the duration of the war. He described the first day of the Battle of Somme as a “sunlit picture of hell” (BBC, July 31).