Nothing Sacred Is Anything Gone
He felt there was no decision more important:
by Walt Ostrander
He took off his straw hat.
No, not the flames; the colors that licked his angular face
Burned into him his only breakfast. For what wheat has he,
And in this field (which is not his) there is only what is there
(to be picked, and sold, and never seen again) he would,
In time, go back to the camp, hungry; but not as hungry
As when he arrived that morning, for he thought, “the things that make
Work rewarding deliver us.” He knew it would not suffice,
He could not feed his children, he could not feed the children of others.
He felt ashamed to have witnessed the fire,
That universal power which man’s reason conquered,
Creating the tools that blistered his brown hands.
But he thought, as each grain of sand played a universe through his fingers:
“Nothing sacred is anything gone,
for anyone must not leave such a
glorious stump in the middle of one’s field.
There is no media or earthly plane
for what lie there, room must be made for more.
(And one cannot turn away
from so brightly burning,
so tall and gaunt, so angular a tree.)
For when such a tree is burned,
It may have never lived at all.”