ADVICE TO A PLANT

Lie back on meadow grass

As shadows move across

The summer’s static dust,

 

And tell me as earth swirls

Around our quiet hill

That everything in time will

 

Pass, but us.  We are not

Shadows, that cease and jut

The length of farmland rut,

 

The tractor’s long farewell

To work, to field, to self,

Sunlight leaving half

 

Its photons buried in a ditch,

Symbolic track from which

We manufacture this

 

Vision of a farm, making

Whole again the hints

That fill the air with things

 

Otherwise not there.

We are not lines or

Laces of a flower’s

 

Silhouette on dirt,

Or the latticework

Of willow layered

 

But the sun, projected

Like a roll of hand-fed

Film through trellised sprockets,

 

Leaves off other trees.

We are not outlines, wheat

Bent in wind, cotton seeds

 

About to spore; we are

The wood itself, sleepers

Underneath the floor.

 

Soil grows our forests,

Spring comes from our eyes,

And when day comes, we rise.

 

Take no notice of the field

As it ages in our limbs, we

Continue in these

 

Lambent pools of light and shade,

As each dead flower’s spathe

Adds substance to the forest base.

 

Look beyond the clustered spikes and

See the continuity of land

Where birth and death depend

 

As much on as a stem -

Not chance at all, or whim,

But smoothly beating solar system.

 

Blood and wood ignite

In the heat of constant tide,

Fuse beyond the green confides

 

Of skin, and touch, and time.  Time

Passes, we do not.  Time

Has nothing more to give.  Time

 

Takes.  We never know

What day it is.  Now

Is only relative to then.  How

 

Foolish watches are, that take

For granted all the hearsay

Over regiments of time and space.

 

Who was the first to tell

The time?  What monstrous call

Drew attention to the daily toll,

 

And named the light a day?

Worlds move in certain ways

Only when man comes, and stays.

 

What you call divine succession,

A planet’s progress, precession

Of the nodes, is not vision,

 

But a fiction of the blind:

All that passes is the mind.

Let the frightened wind

 

Their watches, as wind passes

Through the trees.  But never ask

If the breath comes last,

 

Of first, or when

The storm will end

For good.  Time may mend;

 

It cannot make.  Must we measure,

Codify, and time the stars, color

In the living core

 

Of plants, bugs, beasts?

Must we focus on the least

Of thoughts and blur the rest?

 

Indifferent starts do not age us,

But we ourselves in guessing

So.  The fault lies in the senses.

 

Space, said Kant, is not

Universal.  We fit it

To our eyes, fill in its dots

 

With distance.  The laws of space

Come from the nature of the brain:

We teach the stars to race.

 

The stars above our grass

Drift the whirl across

Mythology’s great circles.

 

Does this count as time?  It divides

The night with music, the sky

Like a cello that cannot keep time.

 

But daylight dims, the heart

Darkens.  That can even be felt.

Still, the night stream wells

 

Over rocks with a clean hiss,

A river not passing,

But wetting.  Not in orbits

 

Nor in sunsets do the quick

Veins run.  Time is set in tricks

And quirks, tongue running over lips

 

As Dido watches, lit in

Grief, the sun on the rim

Of the cool sand, evening

 

Run into years in her eyes.

But not to Aeneas.

He makes good time, riding

 

The wave of the evening,

Towards youth, through no direction brings

Help.  Moving backwards over land, in

 

Barques, in jets, eases time,

Ages man.  Clocks that chime

In loss, or gain, do not wind

 

The planet’s bulk and grace

Within their shallow case:

They mime, saving face,

 

The traditional wisdom:

(When in doubt, rhyme), keeping their dumb

But timeless equilibrium.

 

Turn aside the blackened dial,

The medieval crystal,

Let me hold you in the shade and tell

 

You, without patent solutions

Of shadow and sun,

That time is our own,

 

Our child and spring,

Earth and ocean,

Not an unrelated motion;

 

Our own free choices of paths

Between the dust and ash.

Time covers us like grass

 

That grows to nourish trees

Not by need, but from the seeds

Of nature.  Our time will make us free,

 

And our age; not dependent

On the sun, or the sense,

But on intuition, which is meant.