The Sculpture and the Gull at Sea

Seagull Sculpture

I saw the sculptured gull
from my library chair.
I admired the artist’s skill,
and was glad he’d put it there.

Perfect in its form,
it seemed that it might rise
on its great bronze wings
to soar the sapphire skies.

But, frozen in the air
and mocked by real flight
—a granite base bound it to earth—
he’d still be there at night.

Maybe works of art
are where we see a chance
to give a clearer shape
to life’s confusing dance;

but gulls that soar at sea,
that eat and live and die,
perform an unrehearsed ballet
and varied skies must fly; 

and all earth’s lively forms
press on in endless change,
striving, dancing—some live long—
but none that were remain;

the bear, the tiny flea,
the finch, the giant whale
live life’s wonder, then they die
so more life can prevail.

Art may catch a bit
of life’s prodigious grace
in metal, stone or paint
—but not its stormy pace.

Life moves and always moves;
its rest is rushed repair;
the germ, the gull, the greatest man
are dance-steps on its stair.

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