Archives for posts with tag: poetry

Once, I knew

how to peer from within,

conscious of the framing of vision

which needs make up my

mortality.

 

Now I cannot will that insight

-outsight?-

without unbidden stimuli.

 

Like that first snow which

covers my scrutiny, filtering

its severity until the very

meekness jars me

into bewildered awareness.

‘If a man possesses a repentant spirit his sins will disappear, but if he has an unrepentant spirit his sins will continue and condemn him for their sake forever.’   ~ the Buddha

I have been pondering the experience of driftwood…  What kind of crime could a tree possibly commit to be condemned to such an eternity?

At first glance it seems an enviable fate, to spend all of your days seated on a beach, contemplating the sea in all of its beauty…

To have the sound of the surf and the birds as your daily music.  To watch the magnificent power of the waves as they lift all of that water toward the sky, higher and higher until the weight – or perhaps the anticipation – becomes too much and it is transformed into a jubilant crashing of spray, air, bubbles and play.  To memorize the varied ways in which the water returns to the sea…

First, the most impatient water takes no time to even graze the sand.  It rushes right back, confronting the incoming waves and creating a moment of chaos and confusion in which all directionality is lost…

But the water underneath is less impetuous.  It slides along the shore, feeling it, caressing it, until a communion has been achieved and, at peace, it can slide back, smooth and tranquil, like gliding on glass, to rejoin the ocean…

And finally, that water that has dawdled too long and gets left behind.  There is a realization, and it runs, bounces, unsure of whether or not it will catch up before the next wave tosses it carelessly back on the sand…  But it continues its trying anyway.  Beading and tripping over itself in its determinedly valiant – but vain – effort…

… Anyway… driftwood…  What a seemingly lovely life – or afterlife…  Being bathed daily by that same water, under the huge wide sky…

Until you look closer and realize that the sea doesn’t bathe anything.

It charges onto the sand, beats the rocks and rapes the shoreline.  It doesn’t caress the wood left sitting there, but steals from it, pillages it.  Wrenching from it all color, all softness, all texture… all life.

And in the end it is still not content to just leave it’s victim there, bared, empty and alone.  No, it walks slowly, confidently away, mocking, laughing and with a nonchalant air following behind…

Can you imagine what it must be like to be that driftwood?  Tortured by the very beauty of its predicament?  To sit there before all the glory and magnificence of the shore and sky and sea and know that all that splendor is just an endless punishment?

That the water is just biding its time with other diversions until it decides to return, drowning you again.  That you could only wait to be resurrected to the complete hopelessness of reliving the experience over and over and over again…

*                                                            *

I have known periods of both life and love that were a lot like being  driftwood.  So much promise of beauty and joy and delight and such endless heartbreak…

What wrong could a tree ever have done and what mistakes could I possibly have made?