What I am

I am not this earthen vessel,
nor am I the wind that blows.
I am the harmonic tone
resonating in its hole.

I am not the smooth grey stone,
nor am I the water drop.
I am the splashing flower that blooms
at the water’s sudden stop.

I am not the dry brown branch,
nor am I the troubled skies.
I am the flash of lightning bright
and the smoke curl you see rise.

I am not the big damp cloud,
nor am I the sunlit blue.
I am the face that you espy,
whose puffy grin peers back at you.

I am not this lump of meat,
nor am I just memories.
I am the dance of life it plays;
I am the music this voice sings.

Ripen

One day while picking berries I
asked my dear mother why we die.
Her answers did confuse me.

“We’re not unlike these berries, see.
Come, watch me pick the dark ones clean
and leave the green to ripen.

Now you are green and bitter, child,
but someday you’ll be sweet and mild
and Death will come to pick you.

The juice in you will break and flow.
Who knows then where the skin will go?
and you’ll be lapped-licked-swallowed.”

“Lapped, licked, and eaten!” Aghast, I
stared at my mother, who grinned wide.
“Why can’t we just stay berries?”

“A berry left will spoil, lie
upon the path and attract flies.
I’d rather be well-tasted.”

“But what a grisly end to meet!
with crunching bones tween jagged teeth.
Death sounds like such a monster.”

“You’re not alone in that conceit,
but that is not the point, my sweet.”
Her hand lay on my shoulder.

“My son, take heed! The berries mind.
Take care to ripen till you die,
and dying, leave yourself behind.
Surrender all your sweetness.”

Finished yesterday, 27 January 2013.
This is the first poem that I completed piece by piece instead of coming up with the whole thing more or less at once. I’ve been working on it off and on since last November. Constructive comments are appreciated!

between sleeps

The winds sends bottles scuttling
in the inky outer thing
that coats my windows black.
Wrapped in my cocoon of tungsten light
I sit and contemplate the night
twixt dreamy shoals.  I feel no lack,
my tongue is sate with chamomile,
languish legs in flannel piles,
I lazily put off going back.
The earth does not procrastinate
and so to honor the turn of date
and dawn, I to the next shoal tack.

originally written 29 February 2012