for the Portland City Council, 17 March 2010
Beside the OMSI submarine, docked for good, the beaver
whittles a willow stick, while at Brooklyn School, a girl shapes
her poem, gnawing the pencil to think the words just right.
On Ross Island, the heron shouts a guttural crywhile outside City Hall, with his mandolin, Alonzo,
fingers cold, brimming with song, plucks his life tune for tips.
Mother coyote hops on the Red Line, sits tall, gazes far, leaps off
at the next stop, while a dancer at Jefferson seeks in his bones
the coyote gesture that turns pain to grace.
In the way water moves along the restless hem of Johnson Creek,
the painter finds a line that transforms confusion into a map
of the possible. Without the poet’s right word, the musician’s
aching song, the dancer’s feral reach, the painter’s sure line, we lose
resilience at the downturn, we lack verve at the decision point,we falter when our children beg for joy in spite of all.
It is for these reasons, friends-the way the creative heart
and mind can find a dancer’s path through tough times-
that we are practical about our work in the City of Art.