Your Sunday Poem
By Jack Gilbert from his book “Refusing Heaven.”
A BALL OF SOMETHING
Watching the ant walk under water along
the bottom of my saucepan is painful.
Though he seems in no distress.
He walks at leisure, almost strolling.
Lifts his head twice in the solid outside
and goes on. Until he encounters a bit
of something and acts almost afraid
in struggling to get free. After, he continues,
again at ease. He looks up and pitches forward
into a tight ball. It is not clear whether
that’s the end. Perhaps he is doing what
the hedgehog does well. Waiting for someone
to go by whose ankle he can grab
and ask for help. Hoping for pity. But maybe
not. Maybe he lies there curled around a smile,
liberated at last. Dreaming of coming back
as Byron, or maybe the favorite dog.