What Shall I Be?
(after Evalyn Holy’s painting, Daydreaming)
The days roll by, the miles pass.
That isn’t strictly true. I move,
while time and topography
take scant notice of me,
and my mind travels farther,
a separate being roaming afield.
I could be a malachite, I see myself a jaguar,
happily low in status, an apex predator
content to thrive on who doesn’t need
putrid carcass flesh, carrion to survive,
fresh dung, who fears only Man
rotting fruit. and ubiquitous Time.
Short-lived, fearful, My purr in the night
I scare nothing, scares more than
bring nothing harm. any lion’s roar.
Coming back, I see myself straddling the two,
possessing qualities of each while leaning
toward the butterfly, its vulnerability balanced
by gentle ways, and know I want to come back,
not by resurrection or rebirth, but incarnation.
4 thoughts on "What Shall I Be?"
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This is very cool. The split middle of the poem is genius.
Thanks. Seemed an interesting way to handle the dilemma.
No luck finding the painting that inspired this cool poem. I love “purr in the night.”
Thanks, Gaby. The poem was written for a Chicago-area art guild event this past Saturday. I don’t believe Eva has posted the painting, which depicts two South American Malachite butterflies and a contemplative African lioness, anywhere yet. The mountain lion, known also as a jaguar (and several other names) in Central and South America, is the only big cat that can purr, and the only one that can’t roar.