Posts Tagged ‘do your best’

What Then?





When it dies, the whooper swan sings—

a drawn out trellising of soft running notes—

a glissando as its lungs collapse.


It isn’t that the swan tries

to be beautiful then

after a lifetime of bugling.


No, the effect is strictly mechanical,

they say, an additional tracheal loop

within the swan’s sternum.


Isn’t it like us to want to believe

that the swan gives its greatest effort

at the end? Anything to release us


from the tedium and noise

of the day to day—as if doing it better later

releases us from the moment’s scale.


Sometimes we sing

and fail to recognize our own tune.

Sometimes we try too hard


and our effort comes out less song,

more honk, more strangled cry.

What if, instead of weighting


the finale, we focus on the few notes

we’ve been given and every day

do with them the best we can—


play with their volume, their

timbre, their tempo, their texture—

learn to feel them resonant


in our bodies, learn to find them

beautiful as they join the air,

the tune still warm from our breath


as we scatter our song across the fields,

across the highways, the forests,

letting it touch everything we love

and everything we are still

learning to love.


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