On the Fifth Day
By Jane Hirshfield
On the ﬁfth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
and the ones who worked for the bees.
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
Bound to gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the ﬁfth day,
From this morning's Washington Post Outlook section, which notes that Hirshfield will read this poem at the March for Science on April 22.
I hope everyone who was celebrating had a nice Easter! After dropping Maddy off at work, we went to see if we could see lambs, but we struck out everywhere: we thought Mount Vernon might take too long with our backs bothering us, the Agricultural History Farm Park only had goats and chickens (plus cats), Butler's Orchard was closed though we stopped to see the Davis Mill ruins on the way, and it started to drizzle as we were walking around Lake Whetstone before we got to the fence overlooking the farm with sheep though there were lots of turtles and geese with nests. Even local bunnies were enjoying the spring flowers:
We had dinner with my parents (and Maddy, who was let off work early since so few people were going to the movies), then we came home and watched the Grammy Awards salute to the Bee Gees with Barry Gibb, John Travolta, Celine Dion, Keith Urban, et al, which was a lot of fun. Afterward we watched this week's Elementary, which was okay not great, then Last Week Tonight in which John Oliver broke down the French election for US viewers, which was terrific and stressful. Now we're watching the Fifth Doctor on public television, which looks very '70s. The Orioles and Nationals both won and the Wizards won their playoff game!