The Ant

by Don Thackrey

At noon, I stopped my work of shocking wheat
And found a spot of shade in which to rest,
Opened my pail, said grace, began to eat,

And idly watched an ant that did his best
To lug along a trail a monster kill
That was at least ten times his size, I guessed.

He made me think my farming work is nil
Beside the labor of this Hercules
To bring a feast to comrades in the hill.

Lunch done, I got down close on hands and knees
To look at him intently, eye to eye,
And couldn’t help but wonder what he sees

When he looks up at me: a quirk of sky?
Colossus straddling the Great Sea? A god . . .?
In any case, no force to terrify,

Just thing remote, foreign, and puzzling odd,
With no connection to this ant’s concern:
The struggle over twigs, around a clod,

Into a blocked traverse and the return
To try another way to drag his freight.
I wished to help, grab hold, and take a turn.

I smiled; we two could not communicate,
We were like strangers, those we live among,
So foreign. Of course we can’t cooperate.

He knew no English, I no Pismire tongue.
Was there some other way our thoughts could meet?
No. I’m too old to learn, and he too young.

So after one last look, it’s back to wheat.
Like him, I had a duty to complete.

Previously published on-line in the July 2008 issue of Perspectives.