Why Must We Land?
While the Rock Dove survives
Under train bridges by pecking
Scraps of junk food off sidewalks
Trodden by those too busy to live,
The Wandering Albatross laughs as she circumnavigates
The Southern Hemisphere on glider wings,
Seeming to only land on occasions dictated by
The Sacred Call.
While the pigeon’s life is sidewalks and
Car horns, belching busses, and roaring trains,
Her life is air currents, waves, salt spray,
Sunshine and snow; fish leaping, dolphins gliding,
And all of creation celebrating the waltz.
He rises day after day and trudges the
Streets of commerce, an endless routine of
Dullness in service to Plutus, illegitimate son of
Hades, demon of wealth, guardian of the
Fourth Circle of Hell, friend of dictators.
He is only a cog in a massive machine he
Neither understands nor sees, a machine
As large as a city filled with wheels and stamps,
Drills and noise; manufacturing
A culture of death.
Could it be, is it possible that creatures were
Never meant to land dogmatically under bridges,
Sink into silos of certainty, wall themselves off
From contradictory unknowing, and
Content themselves with intransigence?
This day, for no particular reason,
He stops on his way to the factory to
Watch the pigeons as they go about their
Polluted lives oblivious to mountainous
Cascades, valleys busting with pristine streams,
Towering pines, breaching Humpbacks, and
Painted corals filled with bright fish.
How long can a person exist, not as a person, but
As circuit connection in the devil’s factory?
Could an albatross enjoy the life of a pigeon?
“But,” cries the pigeon to the albatross,
“You have nowhere to call home, no metal
Beam to perch on, no old French fries to eat;
Alone on an open sea!”
“Ah!” replied the Albatross, “I drink rain from the sky,
And eat fish fresh from the sea;
The Anemoi are my friends; I commune with creatures
You cannot imagine and see sites you cannot comprehend;
I feel sensations you will never know, for I live
As Abba intended.”
Leaving his lunch pail lying open on the wall,
An offering of thanks to Rock Doves everywhere,
He walks until he cannot walk anymore,
Then rides until he cannot ride any longer,
Past factories and warehouses, past suburbs and
Dying malls, until
The noise begins to fade.
At the helm of a gaff-rigged schooner
Compass holding at 198°, wind and spray
In his face, grizzly beard tasting salty,
Squinting into the ragged sky as a blazing
Sunset paints a pallet of colors;
Through the night under Milky Way
And shimmering green aurora australis
Until Apollo lifts his chariot with a blaze of glory.
It was then that she appeared,
Snowy-white Wandering Albatross,
Soaring on eight-foot wings, swooping and
Rising, in freedom, purpose, and joy.
He smiled and gazed in simple admiration,
Happily surprised when she swooped near him
Once, twice, thrice.
Did the albatross suddenly grow, or
Did he suddenly shrink?
They are the same size now.
He stretches to discover wings for arms
And feathers for skin as a gentle breeze
Lifts him off the deck high into the sky
Where he, now free, soars into
A cloud of mysterious unknowing,
The Secret Place of the Most High.