Poetry by James Stemmle

             By James Stemmle

there was a time when we
were animals with animal
joys and sorrows living
outdoors by our wits
animal cunning
surrounded by enemies
always hungry needing
to put on weight
in the summer to survive
the winter famine
fully dependent on tribe
adumbrating our social nature

oh the things we knew then
before words and pictures
and algebra let x be velocity
and other abstract notions
how to read the signs
blue sky likely diurnal
temperature excursion
the chirps of birds hoots of owls
smoldering ember
just guessing what we attended
to what contained
existential information

much is lost and much gained
with civilization
and its language
constraining thought
enabling some say
but encounter raw beauty
before a painting
or experience in a thin spot
a glimpse of god at work
a side glance which evaporates
before you can turn and analyze
in a growing baby
or unearned pleasantness
at the end of a day
candles flickering against the dark
cool air of a summer eve
and we don’t know what to do
we have no words
and words are all we have
to deal with it

alas we are still animals
but more
set apart perhaps

for some divine purpose
making and outgrowing gods
evolving rapidly
dreaming ourselves into new worlds
playing with go

- James T. Stemmle has published in The Octillo Review, Evening Street Review, The Raven’s Perch, Deep South Magazine, Hektoen International (a journal of medical humanities), Literary Veganism, Choeofpleirn Press, Seattle Star, Poetry Superhighway, and Open Arts Forum.

Copyright©2023 by James T. Stemmle. All Rights Reserved.