Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Working Down

author’s note:

“...inside human beings
  is where God learns.”
                --  Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Robert Bly)


I felt guilty about descending,
guilty about the natural act of sunset.
About going into the earth
to wet my dry roots.

I felt guilty
about sitting in the sump,
wrapped in my own flag,
to feel the memory
of a starved calf.

"Life does not work that way"
I was assured, sometime long ago.

But you never know
what might work:
cold ground can generate
shivering warmth.

You never know what might work:
alone, I became quite crowded
as a granite block pressed
down upon my head

and a tuber plant
with a ginseng limbs
embraced me, to celebrate
the joy of this death:
that press and that embrace
released all sorts of lost sensation,
and I became quite crowded.

But though I worked the crowd
day and night, I didn’t have enough time
to unify my universe--time runs on schedule:
in the normal course of decay and growth
Spring either birthed me or kicked me out
onto the new green soil.

Out of curiosity, I then looked down
to see where I had been:
a naked child in the pit
--fetal in the wet darkness--
pushed a diamond into his chest.

He seemed quite foreign to me now.
But change is never final--
I knew I might need
to dip myself in that well again

so out of necessity
--but also respect--
I allowed the dog of that memory
to follow me
as I walked away.

© 2008, Michael R. Patton
dream steps
earnest audio

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