augury doggerel

Monday, July 29, 2002

Ding Dong Hang Sing Gone Dung

The woman and I went out early Sunday � the kid is with her grandmother � and walked up into the wooded hills around here.

Just into the trees, on the lower trail, old people wearing their good clothes walked alone, one by one, along the smooth cool dirt between the trees toward the church bell. There's an overgrown graveyard in there, neglected and so probably German, but I haven't climbed about in it yet.

We went up the hill. Where the sun came through, insects hung still. Blackbirds hopped in the leaves, looking for food or just kicking up leaves and enjoying themselves. One blackbird wearing an orange beak sat on a branch and made a faint noise like a rubber duck with its whistle full of pudding, a tweet with the edges rubbed smooth. In the leaves, the abandoned homes of snails were chalky white and crumbling, their dangerous spiral staircases open to the wind. And dung beetles. They have fluffy-spiny legs and shining blue-black shells. We watched fifteen or twenty that had converged on an oasis of wet soil and were rolling in the mud like hippos at a watering hole. The ground was heaving with them.


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