Monday Poem



Today I troll for a poem of humus
dark and rich as the French Roast
which always starts my day
and always is a gift

In this four billion year terrapoem
fungi, woodlouse and eelworms
spend millennia decomposing
in concert with nematodes
actinomycetes and protozoa
doling water and, with bacteria,
fix nitrogen in a scheme
age old and symbiotic,
while on it men
women and other animals
troll and plow,
think and sweat
—animals who draw their own life from it,
who build their lives upon it,
from which come their bones
and to which their bones
and breath go (come and go)
in intervals of comets


in this rambling walkabout
with friends who’ve shed
conceits together, dropping them
as one sloughs old clothes:
into the low pressure system of our lungs
comes new atmosphere, November cool
and out
and in again
and out
in a rhythm old but not antique
for which we thank our
lobe-finned fish progenitors
who learned to suck sweet gas to reap its oxygen
and in return (until we’re absolutely through)
we essentially reply with gusts of CO2


Heraclitus said that all is flux
or, I’d say, fire

never still
the more we yearn
the more things move
they hotter burn


rivers fall by rules of space
obliged by banks that hem obedient livers in,
pulled, it seems, by tugging mass we acquiesce,
are dragged to bottom
— inclined to give, to toss
to push to swell and plunge
(by some dark scripts)
from Paradise to Sodom


by Jim Culleny