You mock the folk around you,
insult and then forget it;
but if this were the world's last day,
would you then regret it?
If taking it back would bring them back,
could it be you'd let it?
If all our race were lost in space
or swallowed by the sun,
and none at all were saved of us
save you, the only one,
would you stand upon your point,
content at what you'd won?
Or would you rather you had lost
if losing made all undone?
And that sharp and biting comment
you made in wrath and haste,
is it worth re-saying,
or would you use more grace?
Might you think of all your passion
for your rightness, goodness, and such,
that if they can't outlast the world's end,
they are not worth so much?
The birds are chirping, twirping,
leaving their places, others' usurping,
bickering, quarrelling, with snicker and song,
their wings all a-flicker as their notes carry long.
As time measures beats and wind measures gusts,
the birds are a-bobble with bobbing of thrust,
sailing and soaring with yearning and yaw,
snipping their prey with sharp beak and claw.
This torment of the wicked
is the comfort of the good;
that evil be not licit
but punished as it should;
that its pain and penal color
be the flourishing of the seed
implanted in the darkness
by the doer of the deed;
that conscience be not toothless,
but bear a whip and flail
so that when our justice falters
the Furies still prevail.