This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Friday, December 16, 2005


A chipmunk cuts my path, and scurries to fulfill
His winter quotas, nervous flag erect,
A cheeky rush before the coming chill;

With frantic industry, yet circumspect
He scurries through the busy underbrush
Obsessed with one more morsel to collect–

As I, absorbed in schemes and sums, just rush
Along the trail and blindly through my years;
Who has the time to stop and hear the hush?

© 2005 Jeffrey Hull


I think that if you reversed the moral of the final stanza from one decrying the compulsive rush of modern western life to one savoring a moment of unexpected satori along with the irony of it being inspired by the busiest little rat racer of all, and you'd be very pleased with the whole effect.

The first two stanzas are VERY good.

'nervous flag erect' is one of those perfect tropes whose every member is essential, and whose meaning would be entirely lost without each.

The trouble with ambition is that as our skills grow so do our standards.
This was the hardest thing to get together - the rhyme scheme made it a real bear to alter - it has been sitting around for several months. I only put it in the queue because I was running short of stuff. I played with the reverse moral but thought it too trite, along the lines of preachiness to others. So I turned the moralizing back on myself.
(I tried to post this comment yesterday but it didn't transmit. Maybe this one will push the earlier one through.)

I think the third stanza is interesting -- in a good way -- because it implicitly answers its own question: "Who has the time...?" Obviously Jeff Hull does, or if not always the time, at least the intention and the awareness. This contradicts the usual sentimental poetic creature-worship. It's the human being here, not the animal, who is closer to nature.

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