Featured Poem 6/18/06

Thanks for everything

While there's time, I'd like to tender heartfelt
thanks for the high-stepping pheasant
at the cornfield's margin; not today's
cultured fowl, hatched by men each spring
and set out along the roads to be shot
for sport in the fall, but the raw, wild
bird of my youth, autumn's beauty champion,
its grace in the grass
and ours at the table
part of the same equation.

Thanks for the childish belief that good
begat good, that life held only
improvement, that we would enjoy our endless
future tidying up imperfections.

Let me show gratitude for ground safe enough
to sleep on, water pure enough
to swim in among edible fish,
sweet-smelling, curative air, and dazzling
snow clean enough to eat.

Thanks for a youth full of promise, with plenty of
everything, including space and time,
for everyone we knew,
in a plenty-good environment we assumed
would just naturally get better.

And finally, thanks for letting me live long enough
to see that as far as civilization goes
you snuck me in under the wire. Maybe
the best of the best was Austria in 1880
or Powell’s Colorado, but at least I glimpsed the last
of the worthwhile,
give or take a generation.

Despite my guilty regret, a just reward
for merely standing by, I thank you for
the selfish solace of knowing
that when I have to leave the party
I won't be missing much.

—John Ingham

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