Hidden among the burgundy snails
Is friendship, like the friendship
Of one burgundy snail for another.
So too the scutalus on each slip
Of grass, so too the cerith on
A seaweed frond, each has
Its national soul, each shares
An inner urge, a surge of jazz.
The kestrel does not find its home,
Its satisfaction, in that bond.
It seeks a friend and only finds,
In Siam or Bombay, a vagabond.
It finds a friend only beyond
The stratosphere, only beyond
The pulsing sheets of cosmic rays,
The nebulae splotched red and blond,
Beyond them too, beyond the memory
Of smoke, beyond vacuum,
Beyond ladders, Planck and Einstein,
Wheel, extension, loom,
An unending storm that floats across
The sea of Jupiter, that roars
At the core of a neutron star,
Or churns in the stirred-up shore,
The kestrel cries its tale about waves
Of force that may speak or eat,
That may bathe in fire, that may sing,
Or save the seed on the desolate street.
“May we sanctify Your name in the world
As they sanctify it in the highest skies,”
And when maple seeds spin to the ground,
They are memory hidden, in disguise.
Yaacov David Shulman