When a Beaver Hears
the sudden sound of water rushing
through his sabotaged dam again,
and this the tenth time this summer,
does he clench his chisels in mad frustration?
Feel a gnawing consternation
at the meddling human plaid shirt clad
and wielding his barn-red rake?
Or does the sound simply awake in him
the smooth gears of purpose?
Call up a reason to live so
congruent with every strand of his being,
flooding him with destiny’s calm,
swimming off to make the long midnight repairs
as an astronaut might toward the stars,
as a mother might, her child’s cry heard,
as I might on this porous page
plug word on word on word?
This summer two beavers and I have been engaged in a tug of war. In the stream bed behind our house they have built an amazing dam, an engineering marvel I must admit. However, I do not desire the drastic change to the landscape that leaving them to their busy ways will eventually result in. So I have periodically hiked back to the dam and torn a hole in it. Each time the breach has been promptly repaired. I am curious if I can outlast the beavers and ultimately drive them away by causing sheer frustration over the extra work I am making for them. Or maybe it is, as this poem suggests, that each breach in the dam sends delightful shivers of meaning and purpose into their creative lives. And just maybe each dam repair is as meaningful to them as each poem I write is meaningful to me, both of us at work building something out of pieces and fragments to make a world in which we can live.