Now, while the world of the Middle East is falling apart, while innocents are being undone by nerve gas or set afire by something very much like Napalm, yes, now we’re taking time out for a poem by Marilyn Robertson. Sometimes it seems that not thinking at all is best. Here’s her poem “Beautiful Nature” with its epigraph by Thomas Jefferson.
The object of walking is to relax the mind.
You should therefore not permit yourself
even to think while you walk.
It is Saturday morning.
A man, a boy, and a dog are out walking
in the woods. They stop to rest beside the trail.
The boy, dressed in camouflage, is chattering on
about AK47s and all the bad guys he killed
in a video game he played before breakfast.
But here we are in beautiful nature, says his father.
Can we talk about something else?
No, says the boy.
Two sighs drift into the ravine.
The boy is thinking, Sheesh! Parents!
The father is thinking, We are doomed.
The dog, waiting patiently for the walk to resume,
is following the advice of Thomas Jefferson
and thinking of nothing at at all.
content to watch a woodpecker pounding his beak
into a bay laurel, trying to find the nut
he left there last fall.