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Shadow and Light: The Transitory

Summer, 2004

Gene Berson


Shoveling sheetrock scraps into the wheelbarrow
to load onto the dumptruck,
I noticed a monarch wing on the red rock beneath
                  the lemon tree.
The setting sun deepened the ripe lemons
and I realized that summer was full, just
                  starting to descend
filling the world with immense pause.

All around me, strewn wings, mingling with leaves
burned orange brown, oddly calming.

A season's driving force had fulfilled its orbit
and these cast off wings
beaten by inspired muscles in miniscule bodies
lay as testimony to creatures who had fulfilled their task,
yielded to their life force without fear.

I felt greatfully inspired by them--
an odd snatch from a Patchen poem went through my mind:

"I cannot offer to serve.
All things proceed
From their resulting center.
O, the wing walks upon its proving throne
and I am raised above my harvest."