To Peggy

One San Francisco summer night through the haze of
Marijuana smoke, LSD freakouts, police paranoia,
Hovering helicopters, tearing tear-gas,
Panoramic supermarkets that never close
In that concrete landscape among the potheads
I met a woman from New Zealand,
Who was utterly natural, utterly beautiful, utterly unspoiled
With a smell of fresh air about her
That the smog of a thousand freeways couldn’t taint
She walked barefoot, wide-eyed with wonder, untarnished
By the crass commercialism around her
Whom consumer, materialistic North America couldn’t entice.
In her eyes one could see butterflies in open fields,
Waves breaking on sandy beaches, mountain streams trickling over rocks
Sunny skies and mountain lakes.
And everything around her excited her, amused her, aroused her,
Interested her.
So I came to that country which produced such a woman.
A place where others like her must still exist.
It wasn’t until you came popping in all wide-eyed with excitement,
Rain dripping down your face, that I knew I was right.
Ridiculous, but what isn’t?
As hydrogen atoms fused with hydrogen to form helium
And helium fused to form carbon, and carbon to magnesium
And down the Periodic Table, through chemical bonds and electronic
Vibrations, molecules, atoms, electrons dance with delight.
As the organic soup gave rise to the first organism
And organisms joined to form metazoa
The molecules, atoms and electrons continued to dance with delight.
From metazoa to elephants, from swordfish to Socrates
There is a thin finger of delight.
The dinosaurs became too ponderous and died
Man too suffers from the weight of his obsessions.
There is a thin finger of evolution that runs through his history,
The thin finger of delight, where it fails to touch
Those are doomed.

There is a morality in the Periodic Table, one can not stop
The delight of atoms dancing.
Ask not what is ridiculous — all is sheer delight,
The greenness of the grass, the blueness of the sky,
The symmetry of the snowflake, all is delight,
Atoms, molecules dancing with delight.

Does it begin or end with meeting you?

Dunedin, NZ — June, 1970

Wha'd you think?