Kelly Cherry

A Small Song About Forgiveness

The squirrel is making short work of the seed
We distribute to the birds. Instead of fighting,
The birds merely wait, and when the squirrel has gone,
The birds return to peck at what is left.
If only my husband and I could follow their lead,
But we can’t. We are humans and behave like humans,
Which means we fight over damn near everything.             
If there were a God, he’d be made of feathers,
And bird wings would be angel wings.
If there were a God, he’d fly all over the world.
From his beak he’d issue ten commandments
And a sermon on a mount. He’d also sing
A small song about forgiveness.




The Beauty of the New

As in the newborn. The first accomplishment.
First love. Learning to write. To read, to read.
Sun shows up. Rain falls down. Snow flakes.
In evening silence, we stand shocked
At our own existence. At the abundance.
All this, all that. What are we to do?
Suggestions: Investigate. Think. We have
A new world and are called to explore it now,
Before seas rise, volcanoes erupt, we drown.





The Beauty of Vitality

It wears away, of course. The laughing girl
On the rocking horse subdues herself to silence.
Older and quieter, though also bewildered,
She takes to books as if they were chewing gum,
The juice delicate and filling. She may
Draw out a line of gum that thins to thought.
But she does not stop there. Her thoughts
Lead her to the work she wants to do
And so she works and works and works and stacks
Of paper reach the ceiling. Does all fall down?
It does. It does indeed. She begins again.