by Ronald Wallace
I think it’s enough just to sit and meditate, heedless
of the needs of others close to us and of
their perpetual demands that seem to sap the
strength from us. My doorway and the morning dew
are all I need to make my day, and that
is where I’ll plan to be. And if that marks
me misanthropic, if that threatens to end our
relationship, I say that is not my problem, closing
my door. Thoreau knew how to spend the day
alone with his peas and beans and ledgers, and we
can do the same. So much for the ties that bind.
“We must find our occasions in ourselves,”
said self-reliant Thoreau. And so I’m going to sing to
myself. And the birds. And you. And one or two others.
From For Dear Life, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015, page 31. Previously published in Ploughshares. Note that the last words of each line of the poem, read vertically from top to bottom, form a haiku by Issa. This form is known as a “golden shovel.” See also “After Bashō,” “And Yet,” and “Bellwether,” +