Ty Hosein | Art by Joy Song

“Alas, alas,” the bobcat cries
Atop his rocky throne.
He sighs and sings,
“If I had wings
How far I might have flown.”

“I yearn to touch the highest peaks
And smell the endless sea,
So pluck the feathered nightingale
And graft her wings on me.”

“Alas, alas,” the nightingale
Inquires of the sky.
“My frail frame
Is all to blame
And so I wonder why…”

“For if I had the black bear’s strength
I’d live with little fright
So strip him of his power
And adorn me with his might.”

“Alas, alas,” the black bear grumbles
Toward the waning moon.
“It’s sad; in spite
Of all my might
That life should end so soon.”

“Beyond this curséd cedar lies
A world I cannot see.
Like herring in the ocean blue,
I hunger to be free.”

“Alas, alas,” the wild herring
Pleads along the shore.
“To live, to swim, to bear, to die,
Can there be nothing more?”

“Yet still, I lack capacity
To try and understand.
So dole the bobcat’s craft, ergo
My insight may expand.”

“Alas, alas, my children,” rang
A voice from deep below,
Through every golden grain of sand
And inch of silver snow.

“Your aspirations sadden me,
A shame you don’t admire
These simple gifts I’ve given, ever
Yearning to inspire.”

“In all your hopeful jealousy,
You’ve come right back around.
Your wingéd wishes blind you from
The beauty of the ground.”

And thus the bobcats, nightingales
The herrings, and the bears
Began to treasure what they had,
And love what gifts were theirs.