“Where To Choose” by Emmanuel Agrapidis

"Some natural tears they drop'd, but wip'd them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest..."

               ~Milton, Paradise Lost

All seabirds have to come to land to lay
their eggs, they need to lay them on firm ground,

like tortoises and sea turtles hauling
themselves up on a long, lonely stretch of sand—

A few weeks later things start to happen:
storks pace up and down, pelicans wait

for the steady trickle of beak sized meals,
the fervent fish also foam in the shallows,

And the steep cliffs once silent are an avian city;
eagles riding updrafts looking for kitty wicks

to confuse them, taking off together
to confuse them— but persistence pays off.

Below a penguin has to accept being
hurled about by the surf, and a seal pup

is tossed up (back and forth) by killer whales;
the tide doing its work under the stars in the sky

who eye every revolution the world makes
around the sun, dividing between life and death,

beating in tune the essences of the Universe,
all the successions of time and all the changes

in nature, all the verities of light and darkness,
all the billions & billions of accidents in the cosmos

and every contingency to every creature
and to everything does their song sing

of a hunger confined in each, and towers over all
like a cloudburst colored like a thunderclap,

and calls us all to break the boundaries and express
them and bring together their wild immortal

souls, indomitable and invincible and old
as time's lonesome ungendered progenitor

who throws up the earth and points the way
where we must lay our joys and our sorrows

and our frail web of bones and flesh which
any accident could obliterate, yet synchronized

to this instant by something more than
the blood that moves them, and affirmed by

something more lasting than the old rules
and balances of the hunter and hunted,

or of the memory that became our memory
and bore us, that touched and ate some

condensation of the divine everlasting spirit—
eating not with the pagan’s base hope

of acquiring its virtues of truth and reason
and understanding and everlasting life,

but eating humbly and in salute to them,
and by eating pledging something to that

quenchless eternal lucidity and its almighty
source and both their heretofore inviolable

anonymity which, though we cannot define
either have led us as if by the hand to this

land and showed us that by possessing one
thing or the other, we shall possess them all.