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I am not ephemeral

  • 24 February 2015

Counterpart   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.