Quotes on signs-of-life

  It is possible to be struck by ameteor or a single-engine plane whilereading in a chair at home. Pedestriansare flattened by safes falling fromrooftops mostly within the panels ofthe comics, but still, we know it ispossible, as well as the flash ofsummer lightning, the thermos topplingover, spilling out on the grass.And we know the message can bedelivered from within. The heart, novalentine, decides to quit afterlunch, the power shut off like aswitch, or a tiny dark ship isunmoored into the flow of the body'srivers, the brain a monastery,defenseless on the shore. This iswhat I think about when I shovelcompost into a wheelbarrow, and whenI fill the long flower boxes, thenpress into rows the limp roots of redimpatiens -- the instant hand of Deathalways ready to burst forth from thesleeve of his voluminous cloak. Thenthe soil is full of marvels, bits ofleaf like flakes off a fresco,red-brown pine needles, a beetle quickto burrow back under the loam. Thenthe wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, theclouds a brighter white, and all Ihear is the rasp of the steel edgeagainst a round stone, the smallplants singing with lifted faces, andthe click of the sundial as one hoursweeps into the next.  
Billy Collins

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