Just after breakfast and still
waking up, I take the path cut
through the meadow, my mind caught
in some rudimentary stage,
the stems of timothy bending
inward with the weight of a single
drop of condensed fog clinging
to each of their fuzzy heads
that brush wetly against my jeans.
Out on a rise, the lupines stand
like a choir singing their purples,
pinks and whites to the buttercups
spread thickly through the grassesó
and to the sparser daisies, orange
hawkweed, pink and white clover,
purple vetch, butter-and-eggs.
Itís a pleasure to name things
as long as one doesnít get
hung up about it. A pleasure, too,
to pick up the dirt road and listen
to my sneakers soaked with dew
scrunching on the damp pinkish sandó
that must be feldspar, an element
of granite, I remember from
fifth grade. I donít know what
this black salamander with yellow spots
is calledóI want to say yellowspotted
salamander, as if names
innocently sprang from things
themselves. Purple columbines
nod in a ditch, escapees
from someoneís garden. It isnít
until Iím on my way back
that they remind me of the school
shootings in Colorado,
the association clinging to the spurs
of their delicate, complex blooms.
And I remember the hawk
in hawkweed, and that itís also
called devilís paintbrush, and how
lupines are named after wolves . . .
how like second thoughts the darker
world encroaches even on these
fields protected as a sanctuary,
something ulterior always
creeping in like seeds carried
in the excrement of these buoyant
goldfinches, whose yellow bodies
are as bright as joy itself,
but whose species name in Latin
means ďsorrowful.Ē