A Society of Three Bowls (Part V of V)

V: A Bowl of Incense

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things.”
Wendell Berry

1
My mother
studied hard to teach
the next few generations
horticulture. Marching at her station,
taut and guarding, pioneering, better in her grades than any of her peers,
she unbeknownst to her had steered herself to meet
my father.
My father
had a dream
to own a business
meanwhile waiting tables.
I happened, and instead he: brought the checks;
took less rest; played with me when he was able;
fought my mother.

“Behold,” we’ve told ourselves, “the levers and the magic graph”-
no different, we could add and always don’t, than those of half
of Canaan’s multi-levered silo cult (those noble fools who
had the decency at least
to plainly
speak
of grains and reproductive needs).

Oh sing, if you are so inclined, the anthem we’ve provided you,
of carving out your own life for yourself. You’d join a litany
of voices who precede you – those who sing, succeed,
then starve into the ocean.
Meanwhile all this solid world is made of half-caught motions,
blooms in unintended harvests, finds its present destiny
in me and you.

2
Grains and vegetables are on the move again-
half-lost in rising maybe, but to teach their children
they’ve aligned themselves in tightly-regimented squadrons.
You might have missed it: after Age
of French Crow came
the Great Reseeding – slowly and discreetly – when
our souls remembered they had tastes.

Amidst the smell
of old books, do your best: expel
the notion those who use the crook call “nature.”
Use your proven, most elaborate of forks
to stave it off. Please, make your
case against the grove life; fruits and vegetables will seed as well
behind your neighbor’s porch.

3
For this handful of minutes eternity rests in the shade,
in the light and the shade. Yesterday
the trees made for Tree, tomorrow
more water arrived to its consecrating – to-day, to know,
to be.

The Lord has built the builder’s house today; later
comes the labor. Grass spread under the chair legs, up
it the daddy long legs, rising. A billion
souls before me in the grove shade, but
today You gave this place for me to sit. The billion-
and-second soul arises after; it’s then to pray
for that soul; today
isn’t joy of surprising; today
is to be.

Five bowls and fourteen breaths. A puff of smoke.
Tobacco shown its purpose. Smoke
asserting, then curling, into sunlight
through the leaves shine,
tree to make the Tree, the water from Your side
to make this tree be,
Glory Be…

 

-bnt

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