A free-verse poem about changing views of mortality.
As I emerged from my garage
this morning to retrieve
the newspaper from the driveway,
I spotted the mallard duck pair
that have taken up residence
in our neighborhood although
we aren't near any body of water.
They waddled from my lawn
across the street to safety
on the neighbor's yard.
As I drew nearer the newspaper,
I saw a tragedy transpire.
A quite young squirrel not
one-third grown and newly
exploring on his own saw me
and decided to follow the ducks
across the street to apparent safety.
Mid-way across the street, he froze
as a car came barreling toward him.
I saw the driver's face.
The driver was a young man,
probably a teenage legal driver,
although to me he looked like a child.
Seeing the poor squirrel, this kid
accelerated and swerved to run
over the squirrel. He delivered
instant death without regard,
actually smiling at his feat
as he drove on.
At age sixty-eight and a half,
I have become increasingly aware
of my own mortality. I now hold
life dear as never before, when
death was a distant event in my life.
Life matters. All life matters,
each and every life in Nature,
no matter how small or
seemingly of little significance
or worth, has value.
Whenever any creature â€“ be it bird,
butterfly, dog, or squirrel â€“ suffers
a premature death, it now tears at
my heart because all creatures
deserve their own opportunity
at fulfilling their life's potential.
I no longer smile at any creature's
needless death. Nowadays I cry
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