Almost Heaven

My favorite section of Dorothy Livesay’s The Self-Completing Tree is the very last one, entitled “At the Finish.? I’ve noted more poems in this section than in any other section of the book, all equally deserving of your notice, all the more reason you should run out and buy this book or get it from your local library if you find that your tastes and mine run along similar lines. After all, since I’m no longer required to run a classroom, I make not pretense that my taste in poetry is any better than anyone else’s.

That said, here’s my favorite poem in the section:


Last night a full silver
shone in the waters of the bay
so serene
one could believe in
an ongoing universe.

And today it’s summer
noon heat soaking into
arbutus trees blackberry bushes
Today in the cities
rallies and peace demonstrations exhort


But save also I say
the towhees under the blackberry bushes
eagles playing a mad caper
in the sky above Bellhouse Bay

This is not paradise
dear adam dear eve
but it is a rung on the ladder
towards a possible
breathtaking landscape

There are moments in nature so serene, so magnificent, so infinite, that it seems impossible to doubt that the world will go on forever, perhaps explaining why so many religions have come to know God through his handiwork.

Although I find it impossible, even undesirable, to ignore the news when I finally find myself muttering at the computer screen or flipping off the TV, I regain my sense of perspective by going outside, sitting on the front deck, enjoying the flowers, and waiting for a hummingbird to honor me with its presence.

Pt Defiance Park, the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, and Belfair may not be heaven, but they are as close as I’ve been able to find lately, and I’d be more than happy to spend eternity in any of them.

I would even go so far as to say that we cannot save our world, our children, or grandchildren unless we can also manage to save the towhees and eagles that share this small space we call our world.

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