New World

This moment says no to the next.
Now is quite enough for the gathering birds
in the tall willows above the irrigation ditch.
It’s autumn and their intentions are in their blood.
Looking up at these chattering birds I become dizzy
but statistics say old men fall down a lot.
The earth is fairly soft here, so far from the world
of cement where people must live to make a living.
Despite the New Covenant you can’t eat the field’s lilies.
Today I think I see a new cold wind rushing through the air.
Of course I stare up too long because I love cedar waxwings,
their nasalate click and hiss, their cantankerous joy.
I fall and the dogs come running. Mary licks my face.
I tell them that this is a world where falling is best.

Jim Harrison is the author of thirty books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His next book of poems, In Search of Small Gods, will be published by Copper Canyon in the spring of 2009.