Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Bill Griffin

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Three yellowjackets have gathered
to worship a dead mouse.
They are jealous of their god –
if you nudge the mouse with a stick
they will sting you.

We all fly to that which we hope
will save us. What if it is really the mouse
who worships the wasps? To take its bit
of something on the path to becoming
nothing and make it new.



Five years old and doesn’t need
the fingers of one hand to figure that;
at twenty we assume he won’t
have to remove his shoes. So much in common:
half close your eyes and think

you see a puppy’s paw, a lizard,
perhaps bonobo, even farther back
the five point star left here this morning
on the beach, same salty womb
we all climbed from yesterday.



Outside the museum the boy
and I kneel on pavement
with the gift shop magnifier
and explore a forest of moss,
two square inches of green:

“Like tiny trees and bushes?”

The four-year old considers,
stares beyond me into
the luminous heart of being,
discovers an answer only his,
returns to his looking.



High branch, long drop,
distant trunk temptation;
what equation of trajectory
and falling should we use,
aerial or actuarial?

Look out, look down,
might want to look up;
the question mark
of the gray squirrel’s tail
invites the hawk’s answer.


Bill Griffin is a naturalist and retired family doctor who lives in rural North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in NC Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, Southern Poetry Review and elsewhere. Bill has published six collections, including Snake Den Ridge, a Bestiaryy (March Street Press, 2008), illustrated by Linda French Griffin, and Riverstory : Treestory (Orchard Street Press 2018) .

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