http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasroche/ / CC BY-SA 2.0You know, it really isn't fair to the wolf and the fox, the hog and the baboon, and any other wilderness creatures to compare them to couth- challenged humans.
Not to play Old Aunt Persnickety, but lately I've been struck by what a rude, rude, rude
world we live in. It's sort of a wilderness of rudeness, don't you think? Somebody (several
somebodies, in fact,) needs a few raps on the knuckles and a dunce hat for punishment, not to
mention a front row seat for Manners 101.
All this bad behavior reminds me of Wilderness, a poem by the Man O' My Dreams, Carl
Sandburg. (Don't worry. I'm not about to go on and on about my boyfriend Carl, since I've
already done that anyway.)
Read the poem and see what you think, okay?
THERE is a wolf in me … fangs pointed for tearing gashes … a red tongue for raw meat …
and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the
wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fox in me … a silver-gray fox … I sniff and guess … I pick things out of the wind
and air … I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers …
I circle and loop and double-cross.
There is a hog in me … a snout and a belly … a machinery for eating and grunting … a
machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun—I got this too from the wilderness and the
wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fish in me … I know I came from saltblue water-gates … I scurried with shoals
of herring … I blew waterspouts with porpoises … before land was … before the water
went down … before Noah … before the first chapter of Genesis.
There is a baboon in me … clambering-clawed … dog-faced … yawping a galoot’s hunger …
hairy under the armpits … here are the hawk-eyed hankering men … here are the blond
and blue-eyed women … here they hide curled asleep waiting … ready to snarl and kill …
ready to sing and give milk … waiting—I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.
There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird … and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains
of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want … and the mockingbird
warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my
Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes—And I got the
eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.
O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve
heart—and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father
and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where—
For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the
world: I came from the wilderness.
We may have the fangs and the snout and the hairy armpits, but I think my cute boyfriend is right. We also have a (wo)man-child heart within our ribs. We could try to be better zookeepers, to say yes and no. And to bite our tongue once in a while.
And if that doesn't work, we could always watch this!
So what do you think? Have the wheels of all civility fallen off our wagon? What's a world to do?
Have a great Monday, y'all!