The thing about nature is
it doesn’t need coaching. Fire
flares true, first strike out of a match.
Infant waterfalls sing like experts.
Acorns squeeze out oaks, each leaf
a born breather. Even Darwin’s mutations.
Paragons. Every one a prima donna,
a first fiddle.
_____________So is it not strange—
child of nature that I am—to wake
each day having to slog through scales?
Today, I’m practicing happy.
First step—the smile.
I’ve whitened my teeth, massaged all
facial muscles, rouged up, and positioned
myself in front of the mirror.

Suddenly a bee, big as a blackberry,
bumbles against my window, knocking
for attention. Rolling in azalea cups all morning,
she weaves in slow motion then hovers
like a helicopter, humming
to herself. The key, C major.
No black notes, no sharps, no flats.
Only naturals—the fan of her own wings,
the bliss of her own buzz.

She doesn’t practice.
She doesn’t have to. She knows.
To make honey, you follow the dance.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Access one piece of artwork every month for free! To experience the full archive, log in or subscribe.

Related Poetry

close up image of old wooden chairs lined against tables



B.H. Fairchild

Sharing a Painting


Jeffrey Harrison



Robert Cording

it is dusk: we see water, deep maroon with black shadows crested on the underside of shelled waves,. a boat lit up with gold lights and steaming smoke into the mauve-dusky sky casts bands of gold and glittering lights on the path of the water, leaves a dark shadow behind it. the shore is a black band of shadows.



Jeff Gundy

Pin It on Pinterest