Konch Magazine - Two Poems by James Bertolino

Nature’s Choices
     “In the world of birds a symposium on the purpose
       of life would be inconceivable. They do not need it.”
                                       —Brooks Atkinson

There is no morality in nature.

And when someone attempts to prove

that human beings (or what humans

have become) are not part of nature, the best argument

might be that our species has developed codes

for moral behavior.

On the other hand, there are those
who hold that the most rapacious among us
behave in a manner close to nature. But in this case,
one would need to ask, “which species
is the model for that?”
All action produces outcome, and how
can we fault the grooming and nurturing we see,
even altruism, in some gentle beasts?
Because having a purpose in life requires
conscious intention and action, to live in a way
that honors the choices we make, we might well consider
just which species we can best pattern
ourselves after.
The Giant Sea Slug, for example.

Warned off by an empty
orange rubber glove
waving from the high limb
of a beach log, near where fallen
timber has blocked my path,
I turn around, leaving my footprints
in the sand as a series of  S-curves
that create a wave form between
the water and high beach grass.
Then I’m back at the area identified
as a “Refueling Station for Shorebirds,”
where I find a comfortable seat.
This gray day is almost bright,
and the easy breeze across my face
reminds me of my own mother’s
loving fingers. The sound of this large
bay, with a mountainous profile
in the distance, is soothing, and softer
than the clamor of ocean waves
two miles west over the peninsula.
Some days life seems so pleasant,
but where, I wonder, are those
famished shorebirds?