All There Is
and other sonnets by
ED HACK | Teacher + Poet
All There Is
They pose the kids in front of it, the white
teeth of the falls, the little girls as blonde
and slight as light that turns a dark leaf bright.
The water, heedlessly, flows on and on.
The willows by the river swell. In fact
they’re drunk on endlessness, no limit to
their appetite. They cannot grow too fat.
The flow is all there is, both old and new,
the words the rabbis tried to parse to find
what God had meant. The river draws them all—
young couples with a dog and kid, the time-
worn old who limp. Each hears the river’s call
that knows each person’s name and age and wish,
while others think that they have come to fish.
Sometimes, as now, I can’t do more than sit
and look outside. Two rabbits by the bush,
two feet apart. Have hopped away. The risk
of every second out was just too much.
The feeder, down and broken, now’s back up,
but no birds feed. Though they fed there for months,
it’s need that drives their lives. No seed? They cut
and run. Makes sense to me. I used to do that once.
The morning gold fans out across the lawn.
The pattern’s shadow/light to shadow/light,
the gold so bright it hurts my eyes. New dawn.
New day. Old work to do before the night,
when I will not remember this, unless
I read these words, recall the morning’s flesh.
The Rabbit In the Morning
The rabbit, every morning, feeds in that
bright sun-lit spot, its ears atwitch to hear
its death. A second’s lapse can be a trap.
If it knows anything, it knows to fear.
I look—it’s there. I look again—it’s not.
And then, some minutes later, there, again.
This is the rabbit’s jumpy life. Its art.
Ah, gone. An inch away? Or in its den?
A small hind-legged leaping blur whose white
puffed tail, odd afterthought, stays in the mind
an instant more? Or frozen in the light
or shade, x’d in the cross-hairs of its time?
Uncountable the fates a single eye-
glance doesn’t see, what stays alive, what dies.
The Birds Are Here
I happen to look up, and there they are.
The birds are here. The feeder’s swinging back
and forth amid a blur of wings. Like stars’
cut-diamond glints through cloud and light-soaked black,
the birds are back from who knows where, a glad
surprise, like music in the face of loss,
the mind triumphant over death. The flag
of light is steady in the air’s white-golden gloss.
Small satisfactions are enough these days—
who would have thought that I’d have reached this point?
Each week, it seems, another’s gone away.
I’ve learned from love what doesn’t disappoint
though it can break your heart. Two rabbits feed
despite the hawks—to live’s their only need.