Simple yet magical. A poem about something commonplace but captivating enough to seduce money from people's wallets--a rain stick (for listening to; it has no other use, and is, to say the least, a momentary experience).
He didn’t see me which is why I was able To sit beneath him in bare woods, close enough To almost touch his six-inch prehistoric beak, Curved scimitar that searched and tapped As he hopped, bobbing, up the oak. His broad black back, shy sweep of wing, Ungainly, yes, but such a sight, and Better yet his outsized head topped By a tuft of flaming red that stuck up straight, And made me smile. A cartoon’s joke, Yet he was real. So were my thoughts That bitter day, mind and memory Bleak as steel until I looked and saw and felt The sudden wild gift of life.
Up-end the rain stick and what happens next Is a music that you never would have known To listen for. In a cactus stalk
Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe Being played by water, you shake it again lightly
And diminuendo runs through all its scales Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes a sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,
Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies; Then glitter-drizzle, almost-breaths of air. Up-end the stick again. What happens next
Is undiminished for having happened once, Twice, ten, a thousand time before. Who care if all the music that transpires
Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus? You are like a rich man entering heaven Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).