The Ant or the Ibis

by Mike Sherry

The ant or the ibis knows its purpose. 
From insect to animal, most creatures spend all their days being true to themselves
Only we humans hide our true nature
(from others, and even from ourselves).

So I apprentice myself to the ant, learning to work 
With single-minded devotion, shouldering
The heaviest bags of clippings from my back garden
Trekking to and from the compost pile
As if that journey is an end in itself

I watch the ibis, learning to act without hesitation
Seizing time to write, 
Voicing my reactions
Gulping down each moment of today
As if it were a prize morsel
Snatched from the grass

I admire how the elm tree in my front yard surrenders
Letting the Spanish moss hang from its neck
Holding hands with the hedges
While the grass and flowers crowd around its knees
Beleaguered but happy among all its children
It drops its leaves every year

Even a stone can teach me
I am still standing
I am still
I am


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