Friday, September 7, 2007

Poem: Dragonflies Mating

This is the last section of a longer poem.

I think the observation of human need and behavior, set in the stirring imagery of this poem is thought provoking, so I'm sharing. Do we wound ourselves and others, carry it with us, in going back to the abyss, time and time again in seach of love? Do we marry with the sky? And what of the cosmos do we transfer in our loving relationships?

The author is Robert Haas, a contemporary American poet.


This morning in the early sun,
steam rising from the pond the color of smoky topaz,
a pair of delicate, copper-red, needle-fine insects
are mating in the unopened crown of a Shasta daisy
just outside your door. The green flowerheads look like wombs
or the upright, supplicant bulbs of a vegetal pre-erection.
The insect lovers seem to be transferring the cosmos into each other
by attaching at the tail, holding utterly still, and quivering intently.

I think (on what evidence?) that they are different from us.
That they mate and are done with mating.
They don’t carry all this half-mated longing up out of childhood
and then go looking for it everywhere.
And so, I think, they can’t wound each other the way we do.
They don’t go through life dizzy or groggy with their hunger,
kill with it, smear it on everything, though it is perhaps also true
that nothing happens to them quite like what happens to us
when the blue-backed swallow dips swiftly toward the green pond
and the pond’s green-and-blue reflected swallow marries it a moment
in the reflected sky and the heart goes out to the end of the rope
it has been throwing into abyss after abyss, and a singing shimmers
from every color the morning has risen into.

My insect instructors have stilled, they are probably stuck together
in some bliss and minute pulse of after-longing
evolution worked out to suck the last juice of the world
into the receiver body. They can’t separate probably
until it is done.

Robert Hass, “Dragonflies Mating” from Sun Under Wood. Copyright �© 1996 by Robert Hass.

No comments: