Nothing More Than Life Itself

the enso

A white dove egg, hatched, laying on the concrete sidewalk next to a hedge.

"A Dove's First Home" by marlowe

the poem

We earn our first breath by struggle
no pain, no gain, they say —
but what of it, this zero-sum game?
The only evidence is this empty shell, barren,
and the jagged edge where you pecked
your way to freedom from
this womb, like an ancient cave dweller,
its history already forgotten, wanting
nothing more than life itself.
Perhaps there is nothing more powerful
than this urge to breathe in open spaces.

The shell remained untouched for days,
no longer needed since a new struggle was found.
I stepped around this artifact each morning,
honoring its sacredness, noting
the thin membrane, the mortal coil now a shriveled root
no longer required to ground you.
Yes, what of it? I imagine
you have doubled in size,
often obey your parents, and will
someday return to this suburban hedge,
calculating what will be required to continue.

Date: Monday, 27. September 2010 22:15
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Animal, Divine, Ephemeral

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  1. 1

    Nice poem, Marlowe. One contemplates the prophecy of “return to this suburban hedge” with trepidition, and yet isn’t it the American Dream? Does it extend to doves? Whose photo? Yours? Mark’s? The Dove’s?

  2. 2

    Thanks, John! Great questions! The photo is mine but I was trying to capture the perspective of the newly hatched squab, standing beside its egg. I think one’s birth – the place/location, the story of it – tends to inform one’s adult life, whether one is a dove or a human. So, yes, there is an intended tension between suburbia as the idealized American Dream and suburbia as a fate.