Friday, November 18, 2016

Morning, with Ibises, at Prayer: a Poem

Morning, with Ibises, at Prayer

By David Hartley Mark

                                                O Lord God I thank you
                                                On this greyblack sunbreaking throughclouds
                                                Florida November morning:
                                                While putting a new plastic garbage bag
                                                Into the brightgreen plastic can
                                                That stands on St. Augustine’s Grass
                                                By the curbside
                                                If we had a curb

                                                I stopped
                                                From my inthoughts
                                                And worries
                                                Of politics
                                                And America
                                                And Washington
                                                And the World….

                                                For the Lord God had sent me
                                                A minyan—a prayer-quorum
                                                Of ibises
                                                White and grey,
                                                Spotted and speckled,
                                                Brown and Black,
                                                Moving as One—

                                                Silently praying,
                                                In their own Ibis-fashion
                                                To the God Who made Ibises,
                                                Worms for their Provender,
Bugs for Variety,
Also Women and Men:

Bending and Bowing,
Straightening, Stretching,
Paying Obeisance
To the Lord of Us All.

“Mortal!” they admonished me,
In their silent ibisitude,
“We dwell in peace—
“Why on Earth
“Can’t you?”
Thus, having berated me,
Silently, Stilly,
My flock of Ten Zen Masters
Moved quietly away

Spreading their wide wings
Quitting this dull earth
Leaving it to us—

First, pray.
Then, work.