THE BERRY THE BREAD AND THE MAGPIE

 

“Do not bake your bread in the thickets,”

the berry once said.

“I am fleeting and brash, I am desire.

I am the one who calls the wild bears down to the river

each spring. I am succulence and sweetness.”

“But I am life,”

said the bread.

“I am punched down and kneaded,

shaped with rough tender hands.

I will rise each time I am knocked down.

Who is it but me who sits

at the evening meal

lifted to the mouths of many?”

Replied the berry,

“But you depend on the threshers

and the hot sun

you must be coaxed out of the strained soil

where the bluebells once nestled.

You lie in the sweat of people’s brows

even as you feed them.”

At that a magpie snatched up the berry

and said from the air,

“I am their dreams,

and I am a thief of their fields.

We will meet again Bread,

someday on the windowsill

of a deserted cottage.”