They Say

They say before the first sunrise
There must have been a germ of light,
Some blossoming of dawn
Muting the darkness,
Some hint of knife-edged rock,
And the splash of raining water;
They say there was sand,
And sharp-taloned wind crying songs of fear
And warning.

They say starlight and lightning
Mated with mud,
And the mud grew teeth
with a taste for blood.
They say stone became bone,
And the darkness (wanting to see itself)
Bred nerve and mind.
They say the eye came later.
And the mouth, they say.

Then came the poem.

Out of this, they say,
Out of what was empty darkness, and black void,
Came gods and man and woman,
Family to the trout, coyote, black bear,
Family to the silk tassel, five-fingered fern, poison oak,
Brother to the osprey, gray fox, cougar,
Sister to the grass, lichen, carbon and oxygen,
Father to the thought of all this,
Mother to the poem
To sing
Of this.

They say,
Brother to the hawk and the wing and the feather,
Sister to the mouse and the claw and the fur.
They say,
Bacteria, virus, too.
And they say,
Dust, ash.

I say,
When comes the heart?
When comes love?
How long? I ask.

They say,

They say,


Poem and accompanying photograph by Benjamin Green.

Benjamin Green is the author of eleven books including THE SOUND OF FISH DREAMING. At the age of 64 he hopes his new work articulates a mature vision the world and does so with some integrity. He resides in New Mexico.