Inspired by kind words from former student Homer Christensen on the last poem I posted here, I've picked out another earlier effort that might serve to mark a return from long illness to my life's main work. BEGINNING AGAIN "What is it for, this labor of poetry?" -- Kenneth Rexroth The young tree just outside my window, a volunteer locust sapling, flails back and forth in the rain-driven storm, dipping and nodding this way and that in a sort of a mad-girl dance, and I, I'm freeing its chaos-rhythms in thought, pretending for comfort that consciously it tolls the mindless bells of the wind. Tomorrow I'll see it, motionless, calm, like a poised adolescent on point on five toes. Granted, our fancies won't keep us unbroken, but as we imagine compassion arises, dignity offered even to stones; for we are the choosers reporting this realm, its grand displays, its flowers, its glory, declaring the world so to be in the end – having our say, and beginning again.