Note to the Hurrying Man (Brian Patten)

All day I sit here doing nothing but
watching how at daybreak
birds fly out and return no fatter
when it’s over. Yet hurrying about this room
you would have me do something similar;
would have me make myself a place
in that sad traffic you call a world.
Don’t hurry me into it; offer
no excuses, no apologies.
Until their brains snap open
I have no love for those who rush
about its mad business;
put their children on a starting line and push
into Christ knows what madness.

You will not listen.
“Work at life!” you scream,
and working I see you rushing everywhere,
so fast most times you ignore
two quarters of your half a world.
If all slow things are useless
and take no active part in nor justify your ignorance
that’s fine; but why bother screaming after me?
Afraid perhaps to come to where I’ve stopped
in case you find
into some slow and glowing countryside
yourself escaping.
Screams measure and keep up the distance between us:
Be quieter –
I really do need to escape;
take the route you might take
if ever this hurrying is over.

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