Upon revisiting and revising this poem, I noticed how much its message applies to life in general. As I age and hopefully grow wiser, I am learning that letting go of habits is not only vital to happiness. It’s also vital to learning and to growing as a person. I’ve recently started studying Alexander Technique, which I will write about more soon. One of the basic lessons of the method is to let go of the tension in the neck and stay open in your awareness. This is harder to do than one might think. Alexander called it Primary Control. I like to think of it as Primary Flow. Let each second go as it happens. Repeat. Rather than creating a superficial life, this idea allows one to experience the richness of the moment much more deeply.
The seeds emerge naked from gray, rough soil,
though most will perish as grist of earth’s scheme.
Their compost holds kernels of mealy toil,
micro teams, tiny mules carrying molecule dreams.
This war marches on. The drama rolls fresh
with each rising and falling of seasonal flesh.
I used to gently cradle those leafy twigs,
pining within their rhythmical trance.
I fiddled and darted, lost and ready
to control that volume of verdant folly.
I toiled from dawn to dusk to cage this romance.
I staked stems, preened buds,
willed red berries on holly’s branches.
I beamed with delight at delphiniums blue night
but daily squished aphids with horrible fright.
Hinoki’s form would finally reach balance,
necessitating tragic hacking of nearby Hamamelis.
Trailing Nasturtium must ramble freely
over carefully chaotic, mossy patio.
Cardinal Richelieu finally gave up the ghost
after five uprootings to aptly pair
his wine purple rose with more heathen hosts.
I strove to capture kairos*, embed its seething flair.
This chimera dwindled with thousands of hours
of pushing days in a stubborn wheelbarrow,
driving my load to pattern and style this living
sculpture into rank and file soldiers of my lair.
Time ground me down with its meticulous power.
As I feared, things went wild. They flattened
and ruptured and cheated my rules.
The Lungwort blasted forth, had its own way
and colonized insouciantly with its spotted tribe.
Autumn Clematis scrambled over trellises
and basked in the sun, surveying the fool’s
game down below, laughing at all the fun.
Then, tough rubric knots let loose their tether
as my life became twinned by other urgent events.
Watching from afar, the garden seemed closer than before.
And Plumbago’s happy scurry beneath
pink Asters fence seemed their own private
dispute, their outcome to pass sentence.
Five years have passed since I relinquished power.
Ten years before that I clutched at this stream
while its crumbled message sifted through my fingers.
From my rough hubris sprouted this quiet lesson:
The constancy of change remains new for the ages.
I come away sage, having learned not to confuse
dreams of perfection with nature’s carnival muse.
*From Wikipedia- Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the "right or opportune moment". It is now used in theology to describe the qualitative form of time. In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved." (E. C. White, Kaironomia p. 13)