Volcanoes explode in Yunnan,

So many tongues of dragon fire

Leaping, flaring into the ashen sky.

Cars crawl along New York’s wide, cramped streets,

Idling angrily, while urchins with dirty little feet

Shriek and holler at their fast-paced world.

Up under the stratosphere, wind-blown clouds

Cascade over jagged, Himalayan mountaintops,

Cataracts falling through barren air,

And in Kenya, women carry their lives

In baskets on their heads,

And wash their clothes in dying streams

That the Sahara tries to drink.


Rhythm creeps out of the desert

And erupts out of fiery mountains,

Flowing.  And bodies dance in possessed joy.

Cultures brush shoulders in circle dances,

Feet pound in Brazil to Tanzania’s drums,

Irish hearts of dancing shoes, never still,

Agree with the allemande and Ländler.

Kings and congresses pass laws

That bind and forge heavy chains of isolation…

Cultures strain to remember each others’ shoulders.


Waterfalls crash over Paraguay’s cliffs,

Each droplet singing a note of the roaring mass.

Chimpanzees screech at each other from treetops,

Scolding and chiding for their absurd escapades.

Smokestacks let out their feather-light burden

Into London’s frozen morning fog…
And it seeps, black, into infant lungs.

In Nebraska, Sioux children envision painted warriors,

Proud dreams of a fading race.

And through it all is music,

High and sweet as angelic voices,

Steady, strong, and deep as a heart’s rhythm.