Usus Fructus

by Gerard Donnelly Smith

October 18, 2004   


Temporarily we use a thing, enjoying the fruit
through another's hard work achieved,
profited though we did no hard work
in fields burning, in the commons
where that natural manure spills out
like so much milk about which
we dare not cry out.

At liberty to use a thing, diminished nor altered,
the fruit should remain whole, unblemished,
though maggots spin webs within the tree
where petals rot from blight and wither
like corpses strewn across a battlefield,
a common cause withered.

Poisoning the tree, we violate natural liberty:
Become usurper, burner of towns and refugee camps;
builder of walls and stretcher of razor wire
behind which children pick at garbage
like so many starlings picking
at a dead soldier's eyes.

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Poetry on Swans

America the 'beautiful' on Swans


Gerard Donnelly Smith on Swans (with bio).

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Published October 18, 2004
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