On Hearing About the Possible Restoration of the
Po’O-uli Bird in the Maui Rainforest
An oncologist said to me once, Everything
comes to an end. The anguish of these patients
comes to an end. Starlight comes to an end,
morning coffee, the dog at your feet. A jet throbs
like an ember through a shaft of late sunlight.
Even the electric glare on a prisoner’s bunk goes out.
The grayish brown Po’O-uli, five inches long,
has white cheeks and breast, and a black mask
like a chickadee. A reticent bird,
it lives in the underbrush and does not call.
The only three in the world live on one island,
each in its separate country.
How to find them, much less
create a pair bond from shy
creatures who have long lived alone.
The tribe might still be saved.
Against such odds, to say
What’s lost is lost. What’s possible is infinite.
By Anne Pitkin, from Winter Arguments
Blue Morning Glory
Voracious, yes. But when you see it,
shy blue flowers blaring like trumpets in spite of themselves,
centers star-shaped and yellow; when it startles you,
early in the morning, all over a white picket fence, say,
in Massachusetts, you might think triumphal, prodigal, awake.
Of course you don’t want it in your rose garden
among all the pruned, the decorous bushes. You don’t want it
in the vegetables, romping through the tomatoes,
beans and peas, leaving no room on the ground, or even
in the air, for the leafy lettuces and cabbages soberly
queuing up in their furrows. It will hog all the sky it can get,
knowing as it does what enormous thirst is satisfied by blue.
Father Michael says Follow the God of abundance.
Says we hurry from the moment’s wealth
for fear it will be taken. Think of this:
The morning glory has been blossoming for so long
without permission that in some gardens it is no longer censored.
What does that tell you? See how it opens its tender throats
to a world that can sting it, how, without apology for its excess,
it blooms and blooms, though even yet
it seems surprised.
By Anne Pitkin, From YELLOW