Of Earth

                for Wallace Stegner

Swallows looping and diving

by the darkening oaks, the flash

of their white bellies,

the tall grasses gathering last light,

glowing pale gold, silence

overflowing in a shimmer of breeze—

these could have happened

a different way. The heavy-trunked oaks

might not have branched and branched

and finely re-branched

as if to weave themselves into air.

There is no necessity

that any creature should fly,

that last light should turn

the grasses gold, that grasses

should exist at all,

or light.

   But a mind thinking so

is a mind wandering from home.

It is not thought that answers

each step of my feet, to be walking here

in the cool stir of dusk

is no mere possibility,

and I am so stained with the sweet

peculiar loveliness of things

that given God's power to dream worlds

from the dark, I know

I could only dream Earth—

birds, trees, this field of light

where I and each of us walk once.

                    John Daniel