The Uncertainty Principal by Martin Willitts Jr

I was in the fields pitchforking as a child,
and a meadowlark called over the empty fields
and broken clay. I wanted to be that song,
that flight, find the overview and the frustration
that comes with planting and being a part of nature.

The rains may bless us, or extreme heat can curse us,
but a song finds its way to a person willing to listen
and pulls the person out of themselves
and places them in a different place.

During the interval, many shadows, clouds,
and suns could pass. I would break the earth
or the earth would break me, while the meadowlark
traveled over distances I cannot even see.
The lark leaves its song behind like it was a feather.
This world will either be a hard place
where I uproot fieldstones bigger than my plow,
or a fertile, depending on the unreliable weather.
My father will say, “It is in God’s hands”
but he expects me to push the hand plow,
breaking the ground and physics of resistance.
I hear the song, the ground giving way
like music fading in the sky with the lark.
I am jealous. I already know the hard way.
Later is not now. And as a child now
always arrives later; but as an adult,
neither is necessarily true.


Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks, plus 11 full-length collections of poetry including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016).