Spring/Summer 1993, Volume 10.2
Poetry

JOHN HENDRICKSON

No Sparrow Falls

No sparrow falls
without benevolent heaven's
knowledge and consent.
We have St. Matthew's word for this,
also Alexander Pope's,
who called his life one long disease,
yet said (one must assume on a warm spring day)
"God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb."
But if you would be sure,
go ask the frozen lamb,
or the sparrow in my pickup's grill,
wings broken, head cast back in agony,
at heaven's will.
And the deer in their furious dance,
legs twisted in a fence,
or rabbits, skunks, or squirrels
crushed beneath indifferent wheels.
They, too, can tell us how it feels
to depart on heaven's word
or only whim,
who would have preferred a different end.

The Electronic Generation

No words fly up,
their thoughts remain below
the threshold of expression,
we assume, but can we know?
Between the meaningless "I mean"
and the helpless "Man, you know"
this mute generation gestures
in a land where we can't go,
All else is silence,
frightening and dumb
we think of old medallions
and,
the necessary thumb.