Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tired Birth



author’s note:

“I have sounded the very bass-line of humility.”
             --  Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I


TIRED BIRTH

After thrashing myself
for so long
with futile swimming
I gave up arguing
with the tide
and let the waves
roll me ashore.

Now I just slop
against this stone
that smiles
like the silent knowing Buddha--

the stone knows I’m learning,
albeit slowly:

the ocean had to knock
the bellow from me
(not just once or twice)
but repeatedly
until I finally
completed this lesson
in humility.

Now my seaweed whimpers softly
as I swallow lumps of sand.

But consider this:
I seemed to have made
the right mistakes--
my stubbornly-held well-calculated plans,
my toil and turmoil,
my screeching, my beseeching

have ended in triumph.

I say "triumph"
because now I know
I can weather
the mightiest storm.

Besides that,
the sandpiper pecking on my back
reminds me that even the deadest-looking log
stirs inside with all kinds
of hidden life

and I know from
living with this human system
that eventually I will tire
of being tired,
of being pecked and lapped

and stand again
to resume some semblance
of how I've walked in the past.

But for the time being
my best comfort is
the knowledge
that through this
paradoxical alchemy
I will be so much better,
brighter--
          steppier--
from having decayed
in those dark waters.


© 2009, Michael R. Patton
new steps

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