From the collection Being, There- poems and translation, Wayfarer Books, 2023.
I cannot name what carries itself
In the curl of the pigs’ tails trembling
As they arrive at the V-shape feed trough
When I come near, bucket full of ground oats
Happy against one leg, bucket of kitchen slop
Splashes at the other side. Oats first, slop on top.
I listen close as their rubbery snouts plunge
And snort into the feast. Up high the soft,
Steady voice of wind sings above the slurping,
Presses its shoulder against the windmill’s blades.
The giant wheel turns in circles. Each time
It goes round its metal to metal squeak
And grind carves the sky in half, pushes the wobbly,
Wooden stick down into the well beneath
The ground then lifts up water. Each time it
Descends the long stick bends so that I fear
It will break in two, but it doesn’t. I watch
The clear water catch the light as it spills
From the end of the iron pipe into the wooden
Tank where stands our one Holstein who gives us milk.
In her slow cow way she quietly lowers her
Dark nose and curved mouth into the glistening
Water, drinks the cool liqueur into her boney
Body, silent but for the dim throaty sounds
Her gullet makes as she swallows. Her tail
Swishes side to side, pushes away flies
That feed on her rugged hide. I stand still
Asa stone, look for where it all begins and ends.
My gaze travels from her tail to the pigs’ tails,
Back and forth, gathers in the wind, the windmill.
The water and morning’s shimmering light
Until the now silent Holstein’s drunk her fill
And the pigs have slicked their trough.
PARMENIDES, FRAGMENT XVI
As the mixture of much-wandering limbs goes,
So thought comes to humans. For as each human
Wanders, always seeking balance, the mind
Sets forth its guidance. It is the same for all.
The mind guiding the wandering limbs.
Whatever mind does beyond this is thinking.
PARMENIDES, FRAGMENT XIX
So, according to belief, these things were brought
Forth and now are, and afterwards, from this time,
They will grow and perish. And for each of these things,
Humans have laid down a distinguishing name.
Gary Whited is a poet, philosopher and psychotherapist. He is the author of the poetry collections Being, There - poems and translations, Wayfarer Books, 2023, and Having Listened (2013), winner of the Benjamin Franklin Book Award. His poems have appeared in several journals, including Salamander, Plainsongs, the Aurorean, Atlanta Review, and Comstock Review. Whited earned his PhD in philosophy from Penn State University, and he taught philosophy at various universities, including University of Montana, University of Texas-Austin, and Emerson College.