It is strange how one thought tangentially interconnects with something quite other during poetry practice. Today’s poetry practice considers ecosystems, both the biological and more metaphorical complex networks that connect everything to all. But once I had been writing about ecosystems it conjured up the New York World’s Fair of 1964/65. I was eight years old when my family visited it. We road a hushed, slow conveyor belt past Michelangelo’s Pieta. I saw the animatronics heralded on Sunday night’s Disney TV program for real in It’s a Small World. I fell in love with foreign lands and acquired several dolls for my collection. But I also remember the Unisphere, which was supposed to symbolically link the earth with the new Space Age – global, universal, cosmological – along with the Fair’s celebration of consumer items. That’s a different kind of complex, interconnected system to consider for another day perhaps.
How to Build an Ecosystem
Consider my neighbour down the lane in Corrahoash,
the beekeeper collecting his ton of honey,
his bees bomb along the lane pollinating
corn, peas, our apple trees;
my husband who harvests them,
his kitchen witch wife who magics a meal,
the smith who fashioned our forks,
the potter who created our plates,
the builder who made the dining table and chairs,
the lumber jack or jill who felled the tree,
the sawyer who planed it to timber, but
remembered to leave some logs
for the mushrooms to stake their place,
snaking their secret network in underground space.
Do not ever underestimate
the unconditional love of dogs,
or the necessity and co-dependence
of cats and mice, spiders and flies.
This great talented orchestration-
concert, chorus, solos-
making the music of the unisphere.
Copyright 2018 Bee Smith