A View From Above
How the birds must puzzle as they fly above the Midwest,
When they fly over the Great Plains,
the Great Mountains.
I flew over the Great Plains. There I saw the grid of man
Laid out in straight lines marking plots and straight roads making access
a higher priority than aesthetic.
To like graph paper we have turned these plains,
Upon which to chart yield production and calculate field efficiency;
Upon which to write out our theories.
It’s easier if green becomes white;
if land becomes blank space,
if free becomes bounded hectare;
if fruitfulness becomes mass measured in kilograms.
What happens when our theories are scrapped?
The birds must puzzle over this strange kind of order.
I flew over the Great mountains. There I saw man’s soft print
Not on but with nature. Meandering roads and property lines like riverways
went, as if asking to be excused; as if being led as the land directs.
Here the land has its own aesthetic and formidable freedom,
And bids men to the order of stewardship.
It’s better if ranges become vistas
if perilous beauty becomes beauty
if the straight line becomes contoured
if order accords with nature
What happens when man’s domination is coram domino?
Perhaps the harmonious song of the birds can tell.