— Dennis Richardson
In the beginning, before B.C.,
I don’t really know what they knew,
this is only conjecture, only my sense of it.
I know they felt fear for sure, fear of everything,
how could they not, danger everywhere,
daylight sightings, night screams the worst.
And I know they felt hunger, not knowing its name,
not knowing there are many hungers, and they knew,
also, something of the area where they were,
not knowing where they were.
At some unimaginable date when sort of safe
places were made, they knew of others, where
they were in relation to them, whoever they were,
the fear abiding, now afraid of the others too.
Awareness of some needs beginning to settle
in minds they were just beginning to notice,
communication having jumped a hurdle
everywhere, signs appeared needing to be understood,
misunderstanding along with not knowing
what they understood, and now helplessness
beginning its long-look around corners.
All of this not unlike today where we think we know
everything going on everywhere instantly,
still fearful though, still helpless to stop or change whatever
follows from our not knowing, some of us safe in that,
we think, but still the hunger and now desires, everyone’s
desires, a strange word fraught with hunger and fear,
new joy won and lost in the same instant,
the Earth losing its grip on what it does so well,
while we, in our singular worlds, watch, listen,
worry about where it will all end, our children and
grandchildren, known, yet unknown, still searching
the unknown: different fears, hungers, desires,
humanity just beginning to show its fragile face.
I think of the coming of my death, the known and unknown
of it, look out in the back yard at all the spring colors,
lush in their newness like children and I fear for them:
the indifference of Nature and gravity; the demand of the lion
for his crown; the stallion, his harem; the flock, a shepherd.