Letter to Duty

Dear shadow busy in the nest under the springhouse
eaves, see how the bird feeds its young. A phoebe hovers,
bug in its beak, tail like a tapping foot. Oh industry,
ah marriage, that long list of errands unscrolling
with its own kind of fervor after days and nights in
the sunlit meadow— Is this all that remains
of desire’s candle that burned, its two seared
ends meeting in the middle? It can’t be so, else how
could I still quicken, years and years later,
to the unexpected heralds of warmth returning?

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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  1. RETURN MAIL (After Letter to Duty)

    Is this all that remains/ of desire’s candle that burned, its two seared/ ends meeting in the middle?

    Here you are asking if something is left behind
    from those days and nights of heat and splendor.
    The nest under the springhouse eave, the errands
    to bring the birdling feed to gaping hungry beaks,
    is this all that remains? What will bring back
    the glory of the flower? But it has never left you,
    not when you still cup your ears to the murmurs
    of ebbtides, the trill of children running after kites
    blown wayward in the hills, the quick flush
    on your face when you recall the warmth
    of nights we lay on our backs counting the stars
    knowing we could not but recounted them
    from inconstant starts and lost count anyway.

    —Albert B. Casuga
    05-18-11

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