Eight Analytical Questions
Who decides the shape of rocks,
the curl of cedar branches, the ripples
wrinkled down a bedrock stream?
Why do I dream of crows winking like black eyes across the sky?
Who discovered salt? What is the source of two objects
against each other: a bug against a leaf,
the leaf against a bed of moss, the moss
against the earth, the earth against the womb
the moon has made from circling the earth, the womb
against the the boundless sea of heaven? Who
decreed when spring should start? Whose task is it
to grant the rain permission to fall and feed
the rivers? Who draws rings around the hearts of trees?
Upon my soul, I wonder who invented beauty?
By Maurice Manning
(From Between Water & Song: New Poets for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Norman Minnick, White Pine Press. A Yale Series of Younger Poets winner, Maurice Manning’s most recent book is The Common Man.)