Sunday, June 1, 2008

Photosynthetic Poem

A.R. Ammons (in the selected poems from W.W. Norton) has a nice little poem entitled "Photosynthesis," which I enjoyed reading very much. No good poetic deed must go unpunished, however, so I decided to write a photosynthetic poem of my own, not to compete with A.R., mind you (to him I concede the victory), but just to see what I might do with the subject.


Wherever you enter the story,
the story's amazing: Single cell
meets ball of fire, and epics
of vegetation ensue--algae,
sequoia, peat, fig, cacti.

Human history's an offshoot
of photosynthesis, a cud
chewed by divine bovinity
in green time. Whenever we

enter the story, we cast our
shadow, insert our names for
plants and stuff, study and
disrupt processes, maybe just
grab a salad for lunch, so busy.

Let's just let the scythe, mower,
chainsaw, tiller, test-tube, and gene-
splicer sit for an hour. Let's lie
in wonder under photosynthetic
boughs, yawn our wows amidst
leaf-dappled mottling of light,
graze in amazement.

Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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