Life Lessons

‘You’re bored, child?’

Felix Dennis
January 24, 2007
Mandalay, Mustique

Look at the birds.
Learn to listen to their chatter,
Their flitting, twittering flights for no
Discernible purpose; the clatter
And the cawing of that black crow,
The furtive, dry-leaved peck and scrape
Of blackbirds blundering in a bush
Seeking worms and beetles; the shape
Of the wagtail’s wing; the shove and push
Of tits among the bacon rinds;
The eerie, invisible knock
Knock knock as a woodpecker finds
A bark grub; the wheeling starling flock.
Look at the birds.

Look at the earth.
Scoop up a handful in your palm.
Not for nothing have men plundered,
Murdered, fought and wrought great harm
Among their kind — whole empires sundered —
Just to own it, or to believe
They did.  Crumble it.  What’s it worth?
Ask a farmer stooping to sheave
A field of sun ripe wheat.  The Earth!
The land!  Listen, listen to me!
The blood of kings lies in your hand,
What came before — and what shall be.
Think on it.  Seek to understand.
Look at the earth.

Look at the sky.
An emptiness?  The blue-walled womb
Of all that is, of all that ever
Grazed or grew or swam — and met its doom —
Beneath our tyrant sun. Forever
Heaving, blowing, sleeting, snowing,
Raining, resting — bringing with the night
Its velvet, eerie canvas, glowing
With long-dead messengers of light.
And yet, who looks — with wit to see?
Should you take long enough to chart
This wheel of time and mystery
Life’s miracle will swamp your heart.
Look at the sky.

You’re bored, child?