I am not ephemeral


Banyan tree, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The mazy banyan throws shoots into the air
That land in sixteen places. It becomes a wonder.
How many times rooted are we to earth
Though we would reach away from it,
Lifting our arms like trees?
How many variations of me, all leaved and pointed
At such difference: pinnate, ovate, spatulate?
Sunlight catches the elm, flares it to gold
In dawn’s great alchemy. What flame will make me burn
Burnishing the inner spirit, making of my cells
A fire? How heavy the fruits to hang upon
My stem, yielding to the fashioner’s knowing hand?
I am not after all ephemeral. No petals of a flower
Given to the wind, no heady fragrance lost
To seasonal bloom. My beauty is the endurance,
Rising like a redwood king through centuries of rain.
My sweetness is drawn against the grounding force
From the deep of dank dirt.
Every type of living is a type of becoming higher,
Though we wend our way as jasmine,
Or seek the light more slowly, taking generations to root.
Lean me now, this green hopeling abutting the night
By the firmness that will right me,
For I want one day to hold the nest of birds,
Be the repository of song through the dark.

19 Attributes*
The Splendor of God and the Glory of God
Are the first two months that generously beget us,
Radiating in fullness like an orb
Before we are immersed in Beauty and Grandeur,
Hopkins’ images of gold-vermillion shining
    in the shook foil,
The little thing, stirred-for-a-bird, overflowing the heart.
Then Light and Mercy, one expanding the eye
The other reaching out to soothe its closing,
        the patient hand staying the dark.
In the seventh month is the Word
Origin and creation, form that gives essence shape
So I have something to reach you with
A channel for the floodtide,
Some purpose to give me way, a road to your home,
And after that Perfection,
The Prime Mover in its empyrean setting the score
Which will keep me moving forward into eternity.
The month of the holy number is Names, Asma
And the noose about my neck is yours,
Perennially on my tongue where God’s should be.
This is the contested space of my life
Between the earth-bound man and spirit
And I am bound too to myself, this name,
Simultaneously made reality.
Anything that can be named is not the purity we seek
           yet I am.
When can we hold two contradictions side-by-side,
Be the and not the or, dancing in the gap between?
When can I be I and not I? or you both here
            and transcendent?
Which is why I am delivered Might and Will,
Knowledge and Power,
To rouse me to a cause, make me my own warrior
Shielding the wayward left hand from my all-knowing
Holding with one arm the blade and with the other,
The steel that would turn it upon itself.
I am the arena for the grand spectacle of Man.
The fourteenth month of the year is Speech
Coming before Questions -
God both speaks and is the questioner,
My sound falls upon human ears,
Cannot answer the question but asks more,
            and asking thinks it makes me wiser.
The journey is paved with steps taken
             in an unknown direction
Until I am reminded of Sharaf, Honour.
I must be honourable in a world reducing me.
And so a map unfolds
But the signs are symbols without legends and keys
Only I ought somewhere to be upright,
To walk with dignity towards my infinity
             now that the months have called me forth.
(It is not so far a cry from Janus, who called us
Through the door into the year.)
The year ends in God’s domain – Sovereignty,
              Dominion, Loftiness –
Attributes for kings –
To inspire the confounded servant
Pacing the inner land of the soul.
I must command something, must reign somewhere,
A territory I have found.
And so we move through nineteen cycles that bear a name,
Each year brought into virtue
- better than being tempted by the God of War
               or giving homage to a cabbage.
The human needs reason
Myths flourish to explain the life we surreptitiously land on
Nouns gather around us and we order time
According to seasons or gods.
The months now put the living back on me –
The geocentric and heliocentric given way
To the being at the centre of each universe,
And I must account for a different make of wine,
A different type of fecundity.
* The Baha’i calendar year is divided into 19 months of 19 days, each month being named after an attribute of God

Marjon MossammaparastMarjon Mossammaparast an Iranian born poet who has taught English and also lived in Italy and China and published under the non de plume Logan Jones.

Cambodia banyan tree image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Marjon Mossammaparast, modern Australian poetry



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Existing comments

An outstanding thoughtful insightful piece about a magnificent structure of nature. Cannot wait for your next piece hopefully motivated by the thousands of central Australia photos in your collection.
Rod Allison | 23 February 2015

Marj, Congrats! They bring tears to the eyes xx
haifa | 24 February 2015

Giving homage to a cabbage, a different type of wine and fecundity indeed!
Mehran Moss | 24 February 2015

Dat poetry
John | 24 February 2015

Here are words that allow the heart to fly --- seeking to be 'the repository of song through the night.' THANK YOU Marjon and the Universe!!!
john Cranmer | 24 February 2015

Moving and inspirational words Marjan.
Elly Zacharakis | 26 February 2015

How could anyone respond differently to Haifa .Please never cease to use your amazing gift with the written word Marjon . Regards John
john kersh | 01 March 2015

Beautiful. Fragrant. Keep writing.
HazelEyes | 15 May 2015


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