Will We Survive?

Jul 28, 2017

Today’s poem is "Will We Survive?" by Peter Harris. Peter is the author of two books of poetry, Blue Hallelujahs and Freeing the Hook. For many years he taught American literature and creative writing at Colby College.

He writes, “In my Zen training, I was required to write a poem in response to every verse of the Diamond Sutra. The original title of the poem was “Will Buddhism Survive?” Tony Hoagland said, ‘lose the Buddhism’ and he was right.”

Will We Survive?  
by Peter Harris

Maybe if we all become that second baseman
who sprinted right, dove, snagged the grounder,
thudded to a stop, too late to get up and change
hands, too late to do anything but what he could
not do, had never tried, could not have done if he had tried:
shovel the gloved ball backhanded over his back,
without looking, to the shortstop. No,
not to the shortstop, but to where the shortstop
would be when he flew across the bag,
barehanded the ball, toed the bag, swiveled,
elevated above the spikes-up, take-out slide,
high enough to make the throw
to first for the double play. Game over.
The not-doable, done. No sound at all inside
the redundant thunder of applause.

Poem copyright © 2013 Peter Harris.
Reprinted from Freeing the Hook, Deerbrook Editions,
by permission of Peter Harris.