These insects golden
And Arabic sailing in the husks of galleons
Their octagonal heads also
Hold sand paintings of the next life.
BEGINNING my studies, the first step pleas’d me so much,
The mere fact, consciousness—these forms—the power of motion,
The least insect or animal—the senses—eyesight—love;
The first step, I say, aw’d me and pleas’d me so much,
I have hardly gone, and hardly wish’d to go, any farther,
But stop and loiter all the time, to sing it in extatic songs.
Death is like the insect
Menacing the tree,
Competent to kill it,
But decoyed may be.
Bait it with the balsam,
Seek it with the saw,
Baffle, if it cost you
Everything you are.
Then, if it have burrowed
Out of reach of skill --
Wring the tree and leave it,
'Tis the vermin's will.
OF Lordly acquaintance you boast,
And the Dukes that you dined wi’ yestreen,
Yet an insect’s an insect at most,
Tho’ it crawl on the curl of a Queen!
Edgar Lee Masters
Samuel is forever talking of his elm --
But I did not need to die to learn about roots:
I, who dug all the ditches about Spoon River.
Look at my elm!
Sprung from as good a seed as his,
Sown at the same time,
It is dying at the top:
Not from lack of life, nor fungus,
Nor destroying insect, as the sexton thinks.
Look, Samuel, where the roots have struck rock,
And can no further spread.
And all the while the top of the tree
Is tiring itself out, and dying,
Trying to grow.