Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Starfish" by Galway Kinnell


CLIFFIE’S NOTE: I consider this just a nice poem, not precisely religious in nature, but feel free to read it any way you want.

"Daybreak" - Galway Kinnell

On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it slowly
as the actual stars cross heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity they sank down
into it and lay still: and by the time
pink sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

(Cliffie brushes away a little tear…)

Come to think of it, there’s a great Starfish story used as a burnout-prevention tool by landscum human social workers – always important in the face of the species-wide behavioral problems that seem to spring up everywhere, like mushrooms in the shade, just when you thought you had them ALL STAMPED OUT. This Hydra-like dysfunction is THE major reason we are trying to get the human race converted back into fish. Or if you like, the major reason we need them ALL STAMPED OUT. Anyway, here’s the story.

A woman is walking up and down a beach at low tide, picking up one stranded Starfish after another and pitching them back into the water. A man comes along and watches her a while. He looks down the beach, and sees uncountable Starfish beached all the way to the horizon. "What are you trying to prove?" he asks. "There must be thousands of beaches and millions of Starfish. How can you ever make a difference?"

The woman picks up a really big Starfish and pitches it far into the water. "I just made a difference to that one," she says.

I have no idea where it came from because although it’s printed everywhere on posters and t-shirts, nobody is ever credited. You know what that means, right?


Blogger ottomark said...

I was searching for this poem and found it on your site -- thanks. I used to teach this poem. What I tried to get my students to see is the relationship between forces of nature -- in this case, animals and the celestial. On a simpler level, I used to ask my students, "so when are stars visible?" The answer, of course, is always.

2:33 PM  

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