Poem: Starfish

This is a wonderful prose poem about life. It’s a good day to run it.

The birds are a series I did that I like. There is no link between the poem and the illustration. Just two innocent pieces for a day where innocence counts.

Poem: “Starfish”
Eleanor Lerman, from Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds.

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

birds

Image: Paper mosaic. “Unrelated birds, talking”. Pitt Pen, Inktense watercolor pencils on Arches Text Wove. Quinn McDonald, © 2012. All rights reserved.

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16 thoughts on “Poem: Starfish

  1. Loved the poem, the starfish drifting through the channel with smiles on their starry faces, as they head out to deep water, the far and boundless sea…sigh. And I loved the sweet pear-birds. The whole post made me feel content. Thank you.

  2. You just made my day, Quinn – the sweet trusting poses of the birds and the image of smiling starfish have put a beautiful frame on the morning. Thank you for this gift.

  3. Thank you for this gift. Feels like it was written for me. And your little perching birds: There’s a connection for me, from a poem by James Wright, “The Branch Will Not Break.” Love you.

  4. A great reminder to enjoy life’s little pleasures and a great way to start a lovely day full of family, friends, and SNOW. Yes, in Oregon we have a white Christmas.
    Thank you for the bird art. Birds are a favorite of mine and your sweet artwork has made me happy. Today I have plans with my six year old grandson. We are going to cover pine cones with peanut butter and bird seed. It’s going to be a great day!

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