Friday, August 20, 2021

Mercy and Misery

Quibbling hikers sound like coyote pups
From just the right distance to the cliff’s edge,
But could be it’s the other way around.

The coyotes have been noisy lately,
Another exceptionally dry year
And shorter than usual on rabbits.

So it is most of what sounds uncanny,
Which makes up most of what we find eerie,
Hovers near blurred seams of recognition

And mistake. Strained voicings. Coyote pups
Or anxious hikers. Windy distances
Obscure our species’ many differences.

What names do to listening, listening
Does to names. In Latin, miserere
Means, in English, have mercy. However,

English also has the Latin-derived
Term, misery, in more common usage.
To see the name, miserere, as text

And, more especially, to hear it sung,
If you’re an English speaker, is to think,
Mistakenly or not, of misery

As well as mercy, and since it’s a plea,
Why not? Misery’s implicit in pleas
For mercy. There’s something eerie to it,

And to the warbling of coyote pups,
And to the querulous laughs of hikers,
To all voiced lives interrogating life.

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