Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lush Moments, Changing Times: Metaphysics in the Garden

Lush moments versus spring coaxings.
The same place, looking a lot different now.
Everything boiling over,
the last days of July.
Those blue balloon flowers puffing out a pure cerulean blossom
a few more this year, each year, but who's counting
who else even notices.
I offer my presentation to the neighbors who live over the fence
Who look down now upon our creations
(the first person plural pronoun standing for nature plus us),
from the raised deck added to the two-story addition
it took a year, a whole growing season, plus an autumn, winter,
closing time, to build.
I give each of my neighbors a task: count the balloon flowers,
track the population of those native daylilies, declining? aging?
growing too crowded like the old neighborhoods
in old cities,
the places we track in our guidebooks while we count the mosques, the minarets, the park benches,
the quality (and quantity) of views of the Bosporus.
The thing about traveling, it's not where you go,
it's who you are
and the coefficient of likelihood
for being the same person when you return

So it is with the seasons, the summers.
I am sure the roses never shined so brightly,
endured so long disease-free without human interventions,
the Coreopsis Helios spreads by an annual 15 percent (maybe 16? 17?)
and those tiny yellow buttons, like flowers stitched in a woven rug
by fingers too minutely particular to ever see,
and all such trends escape my eye
At what point did the creamy white Echinacea emerge,
lined up like paint chips for discerning householders,
how many ways does the paint store know how to say white?
We painted ours in "sandy beaches"
but still bring my eyes no closer to the instant of emergence
The yellows are in retreat
red daylilies pick up the count.

We raise our flags in July
The high tide, not at Gettysburg, or Philadelphia, nor the Place de la Revolution
(renamed de la Concorde when the natives
grew tired of cutting off heads)
as my fingers weary and grow stiff from the endless
task of dead-heading faded blossoms struck from the rollcall of time

Each growing year we travel from the frozen shores
of first life, first sightings,
the retreat of the glaciers still fresh in our memories
Till little white flowers give way to little purple ones,
the purples grow bigger, spread farther,
the green earth rises to join in the dance
of the freshly ritualized spring, windows thrown open to life,
jackets off, hearts ablaze
The little purples, the modest blues, give way to
the vast, enheartening operatic invasion of golden life, expressive oranges, blazes of red
truer than blood,
hot colors for the hot season
!Summer! is proclaimed
I am overwhelmed,
swept overboard in a sea of life, I ply the tools of my trade,
left and right like some chivalrous hero surrounded by a sea of barbarians,
at times embracing the role of the commander pleased by the battle's progress,
crowds of rudbeckia cheer him from the public squares,
heads bobbing like Black-Eyed-Susans
swimming in a sea of love,
Till changing coats to observe the fallen like a trained physician,
and record the moment when inevitable decline has taken hold.
The patient will not recover

Neither will we.
Let no one say the struggle is in vain,
the game not worth the candle
We burn in beauty, knowing the winter sleep
is long, and always soon.