The Little Duck by Donald Babcock, 1947
Now we’re ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck,
riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck,
and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold,
and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
and he is a part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin,
or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes
to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however,
which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves,
because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you?
He sits down in it!
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity
– which it is.
He has made himself a part of the boundless
by easing himself into just where it touches him.
I like the duck.
He doesn’t know much,
but he’s got religion.
A friend recently sent me this poem that he read during a community poetry forum in Norwalk, CT. It moves me.
I’ve been wondering more lately about the place where we feel our humanity and divinity; a core place inside, where these touch. It seems that the more deeply I engage in life, leaning-in to the “gloriousness and wretchedness” (Pema Chodron), I meet that which is boundless.
Easter nears. I wonder if we are each destined to live the resurrection – in our own skin, in our own bodies. My journey is an Easter story and yours too. I am a miracle or is the miracle in me? Oneness isn’t about moments of bliss or feeling good all the time. These experiences come and go. What does one call That which never changes and is ever present? Living fully awake leads me here. This space kindles a gentle, open-hearted quality in relationships and how I perceive day to day. In the stillness, there are so many questions, but these are all ok too. No need to rush to having answers. My heart knows that only Grace can account for all of this.
As for the little duck, this poem is an Easter meditation of the Messiah rising in each of our lives. Contemplating this makes me smile. We are each effortlessly and intimately positioned to rejoin the “boundless”, exactly where we are.