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Embracing the Lotus

A Long Journey to a Reluctant Enlightenment

A Poetic Allegory


by Gregory


Copyright 2017 by:
Gregory


Published by:

Muse & Man Press


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* * * * *


Cover and publisher logo designed by

Geoff Morton

http://www.geoffmorton.ca/


TABLE OF CONTENTS

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


PROLOGUE

PREFACE

PETAL ONE

PETAL TWO

PETAL THREE

PETAL FOUR

PETAL FIVE

PETAL SIX

PETAL SEVEN

PETAL EIGHT

PETAL NINE

PETAL TEN

PETAL ELEVEN

PETAL TWELVE

PETAL THIRTEEN

PETAL FOURTEEN

AFTERWORD



Watch
with glittering eyes
the whole world
around you,
because
the greatest secrets
are always hidden
in the most
unlikely places.
those
who don't
believe in magic,
will never find it.
Roald Dahl


PROLOGUE

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Forsooth,
the poet
Marianne Moore is right!
when any poet
creates a
Garden of the Imagination,

it is inevitable that
Genuine Amphibians
will take up residence in it.

* * *
Every true poem—
However clever
its arrangement of words;
However masterful
its meters, rhymes, and meanings;
However mesmerizing

its metaphors, similes, and allusions;
However carefully
written out by a greater or lesser
Poet
inspired by a greater or lesser
Muse,
begins its life
as an infant birthing out of
the same womb:
William Butler Yeats'
Spiritus Mundi,
William Blake's
Imagination,

Joseph Campbell's
Mythos,
whence comes our dreams
and our great myths,
and for it to reach its full,
adult potential, it must receive a
necessary childhood of nurturance
from its readers—
From their sense of it,
From their understanding of it,
From their emotional reaction to it,
From their appreciation of it.
and most importantly,
From their spiritual connection to it.
Gregory


PREFACE
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Flower Sermon

One morning the Buddha led his disciples to a pond for a teaching session. They sat on the
ground, awaiting his wise words. But instead of speaking he walked into the pond and after
pressing the palms of his hands together in front of his heart and bowing to a lotus flower in the
ritual of Namaste, he gently pulled it out. Its roots dripping water and mud, he held it up. They
all silently gazed at the beautiful blossom while awaiting their master's profound words about it.
But none were forthcoming, and they all stared at him expectantly —except Mahakashyapa, who
smiled. After nodding to Mahakashyapa, the Buddha carefully replanted the lotus, bowed to it in
Namaste, stepped out of the pond, bowed in Namaste to his disciples, and walked away.
A Buddhist legend

Satori

"....looking into one's nature . . . .This acquiring of a new point of view in our dealings with life
and the world is popularly called . . .'satori'. It is really another name for Enlightenment.
D.T.Suzuki

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.
Lao Tzu

Enlightenment is simply sanity—the sanity in which I see my real situation in the
living fabric of all that exists.
Frederick Franck

A finite living being partakes of infinity, or rather, has something infinite within itself.
Goethe

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion
which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
Albert Einstein

The intellect is powerless to express thought without the aid of the heart.

Henry David Thoreau

We do not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making
the darkness conscious.
C. G. Jung


These eyes through which I hoped to see God, are the eyes through which God sees me.
Meister Eckhart

What has been written is what will be written;
There is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes


PETAL ONE
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Young,

So young had I been, all those

So many years ago, in that

Season of my life—

When

All yet lay before me, like an

Exciting mystery novel awaiting

To unfold and enthrall my ego

As I lived the reading of it;

When

My youthful delusions of omnipotence

Enwrapped me in their thick warm

Cloak of invincibility;

When

My delusions of pope-like infallibility

Allowed me to believe I could

Make no mistakes;

When

No obstacles were too tall or too

Broad to hinder or thwart my

Cherished dreams of status and

Wealth, nor all my

"best laid plans"

For the achieving of them,

that early

One soft, high summer eve,

during the

The twenty seventh year of my

Carefully planned and unfolding life,

during that

Pivotal year for all of us, when we

Believe we are rounding the bases

After hitting a walk-off home run,

But in truth are fleeing the Cerberus

Of our true selves while treading a

Crumbling ledge on the precipice

Of ego-delusion that towers over

The black and grasping

Abyss of Fate,

That is our true adult life,

That crucial year—

When, as too-often happens

To those of us, who, with even

The most careful of soft-treading feet

On that crumbling precipice, weighed

Down by our back-straining packs

filled with

The massive tomes of all our familial

And cultural demands and limitations,

filled with

The rocks of all our tendencies to

Thoughtless and youthful excesses,

filled with

The lead bricks of all our youthful

Delusions of omnipotence and immortality,

all of which

Can but serve to pull us off balance,

Can but cause our feet to slip and

Slide on that trickster-cliff of

ego-folly,

While the Cerberus of our true self

Drives us on along that ledge, and

The

Abyss of Fate

Is ever reaching up with its black,

Brawny arms and scrabbling at our

Slip-sliding feet with its

Long, sharp claws,

That crucial year—

When just as I was so youthfully

And delusionally

certain

That the Saturn V rocket of my perfectly

Planned and carefully constructed life

Was ready to blast off towards the

Moon of all my cherished dreams of

Material success and social status,

I was sudden

Overwhelmed with a strange and

Potent inner need to go for

An out-of-character walk along

A quiet rural road outside of the

Small mining town where over the

Last six years I had been diligently

Working at building the foundation

Of what I hoped would be the

Towering edifice of my cherished

And hard-studied-for career,

first,

As a mining engineer,

then,

As the eventual superintendant of

One of the larger mines of the many

Owned by the large mining company

That employed me,

while at

The same time fulfilling my vows

To "love and to cherish" my beautiful

Wife, as well as love and perform

My paternal duties to our two

Young children,

though of late,

And most unexpectedly

all of that

Which I'd cherished so dearly, and for

Which I'd planned so well and worked

So hard, had most strangely been

Filling me with a soft-gnawing sense

of dissatisfaction,

Filling me with a soft-gnawing sense

of emptiness,

Filling me with undeniable intimations

That my precious job was no longer

A protective cocoon for the emerging

Butterfly of my dreamed-for life,

but a thick

Eggshell to the late-hatching chick

Of some fierce bird of prey that

Had been incubating in an

Unknown nest in some hidden

Recess of my being;

And as

My feet seemed to move all of

Their own down that rural road, I

Unexpectedly found myself enjoying

That quiet and bucolic stroll, becoming

Instantly enthralled with the striking

Sight of the huge, red-westering sun

Slowly sinking into the soft horizon-haze

And casting long, diffused shadows

Across the road,

but no less

Striking and magical was the

Heady, intoxicating scent of the

Ditch-growing sweet clover blooms

Wavering in the wandering breezes,

Of the soft flutterings and chirpings

Of various small birds foraging

Amongst them, of the swaths and

Clumps of the many kinds of grasses

Of varying heights, their heavy heads

Tugging their slender stalks into

Graceful, eye-pleasing arcs,

and of

The myriads of other varied and

Colorful wildflowers that fill all the

Ditches at this fecund time of year,

till finally,

I came to a large farm, a bright blue

Mailbox at the entrance to the

Drive with

I. MESTESSA

Boldly painted on it in bright yellow

Letters, informing me who the big,

Many-gabled house belonged to,

Its new white paint glowing a soft

Rose in the reddening light

Of that slow-settling sun,

a magical

Light that was also setting aglow the

Two, huge weeping willows in the yard

Of green, close-cropped grass, their

Ground-trailing branches arching

Gracefully and swaying seductively

In a soft breeze,

while beside

That large, homey house, sat a huge

Barn, newly-painted the traditional

Burnt-red and with its fascias and

Window trims painted a bright white,

With a colorful array of blooming

Hollyhocks tall-growing along its

Sturdy foundation of mortared rocks,

And with its new, shining-metal roof

Glowing a soft red in the enchanting

Light of that slow-settling sun,

while to

The left of the barn, towering

Above a collection of red-painted

Outbuildings, stood a wooden,

White-painted windmill, the evening

Breezes too soft and desultory to set

Its grey metal blades moving,

and on

It's right, in front of a collection of

Well-used farm machinery, was

Growing, almost to the height

Of the peak of that barn, a

Huge-crowned elm, looking like

A monstrous green fountain as its

Dark leaves erupted skyward before

Cascading in ground-touching

Cataracts that gently swayed to

The soft breezes, its living existence

Surprising me, for most of its kin

In the area had already succumbed

To the ravages of the Dutch Elm

Epidemic and been turned into

Stark, leafless skeletons;

And stretching

From that huge barn now glowing an

Even deeper crimson in that red-glowing

Sun, and down to the road, where

I stood

Smelling the pungent, very

Organic scent endemic to every

Barnyard, and not minding it a bit

As I gazed at this soul-soothing

Scene,

was a

Large, green-grassed, and delightfully

Buttercup-sprinkled paddock in which

A half-dozen horses of various colors,

Oblivious to my presence, heads-down,

Ears-flicking and tails-swishing,

Munching their evening meal, while

Three others, one a stunning,

White-maned, white-tailed

Palomino gelding,

His muscles rippling under his

Sleek, golden skin,

stood at

The new, white-painted wooden fence

Running along the road, their

Broad white blazes glowing in the

Ever-reddening light as they intelligent,

Inquisitive, ears-flicking, and

Tails-swishing watched me;

And just

As I was turning away from this very

Soothing and entrancing scene, intent

On continuing my walk down the

Road before me,

I heard,

Just off to my left, and above me,

The familiar and mournful

cooowhaah, coooo, cooo, cooooo . .
cooowhaah, coooo, cooo, cooooo . . .

Of mourning doves, and looking

Towards that sorrowful sound, saw

A pair of them perched close together,

Like new lovers, on a sagging telephone

Wire, and after gazing at them for

Several minutes while listening to their

Soft, sad cooing,

I noticed,

Almost directly beneath the long sag

In that wire, a little-used and overgrown

Road branching off from the main,

With a small and weathered sign on a

Leaning, weathered post enwrapped

In flowering vines,

informing all

Who chanced to look at it, that it

Was the older version of the road

I'd been walking down,

and no

Great powers of deduction did it

Take to figure out that it had been

Abandoned on the building of the

New road stretching out before me,

Which dipped down a gentle slope

That commenced just past that lovely

Farm, then shot arrow-straight down

To a tree-lined river, which it crossed

Over a dull grey cement bridge;

And no less

Than had some strange and potent

inner urging

Sent me out walking along that

Main road, a now stronger

inner urging

Induced me to turn my strolling

Steps down that

old road

That had been abandoned

On the building of the new, with

My initial steps towards it taking me

Underneath that sagging wire and

Sending those two doves flying off,

Their wings making that familiar

Whistling noise which sounded

Strangely loud and startling in the

Red-glowing, evening stillness;

And instantly

Glad I was that those two doves

Had drawn my attention to that old

Road, and that I'd given-in to that

Inner urging, for with my first step

Along its over-grown way, and with

The cessation of the wing-whistling

Of those two mourning doves, a

Most strange, deep, profound, and

Timeless

S I L E N C E,

The likes of which I’d had no memory

Of ever experiencing before, swaddled

Me like a newborn in a blanket of

Cotton batting, and so startlingly “loud”

Was that strange, deep, profound, and

Timeless

S I L E N C E,

That I could but stop and, in utter

Amazement,

listen to it

Though as I listened, I heard a soft,

Soothing, and indefinable buzzing

Filling, not only my head, but my

Whole psyche,

followed by

The sense of . . . . . . .

The sense of . . . . . . .

what Alice

Must have felt on following the

White Rabbit down his hole and

Into Wonderland,

for when

The buzzing stopped, there again was

That strange, deep, profound, and

Timeless

S I L E N C E,

Though it lasted but a swaddling short

Span of seconds before being filled with a

Delightful symphony of

natural sounds,

And an equally delightful absence of

mechanical rackets,

And as my footsteps, quite of their

Own entranced volition, carried me

Forward, it was with

utter amazement

That I could not help but keenly notice,

Not only the complete and wonderful

Absence of all the mechanical noises

I’d theretofore most unconsciously

Accepted as an integral aspect of my

daily reality,

But just as keenly noticed,

first—

That my basic consciousness had

Altered such that I could not separate

My sense of being conscious

of myself,

From a sense of being conscious of

The whole world around me,

such that

There was no separation between me

And the world I was perceiving,

Like that world was

Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony,

And I was just another note in it,

integral,

but not

special,

then—

I was filled with a profound

Unexpected, and uncanny alteration

To my perception of time—

no longer

Were the seconds of my existence

Hitched together,

nose-to-tail,

Like three-dimensional, track-bound,

Railway coaches full of the passengers

Of the experiences of each of those

Seconds,

but each

Had become like the one-dimensional

Shadows of swarming gnats, that

Landed,

one-atop-the-other,

Never accumulating in a pile,

Never connecting the experiences of

The former to the latter,

Never weighting down the latter with

The memory-baggage of the former,

But always being the single, weightless,

Dimensionless, and utterly timeless

NOW,

That much as It could be

second-sliced

Into remembered experiences, when

Not being thus second-sliced,

remained

That delicious, comforting, soothing,

Weightless, and utterly timeless

NOW,

And besides that uncanny sense of

timelessness,

Everything bout that old and

Long-abandoned road

Felt:

different,

Felt:

strange,

Felt:

more alive,

Felt:

more rustic,

Felt:

more charming,

Felt:

more serene,

Felt:

more meaningful,

While the colors of every object my

Startled eyes settled upon,

Appeared:

clearer,

Appeared:

deeper,

Appeared:

richer,

Appeared:

closer,

Than anything I'd ever seen before,

While each most subtly glowed with

A strange, potent, inner, and

living light

That subtly radiated out of absolutely

Everything I gazed at, a

living light

That melded with a subtle but

Omnipresent background light that

I somehow adamantly knew to be

Nothing less than a swirling, pulsating

Matrix of pure

meaning,

Which I was so delightfully feeling,

And which I, in some strange way,

Adamantly knew I was seeing, not

With the mundane vision of my

Outer eyes, but with a magical form

Of seeing of a pair

inner eyes

That I was not aware I possessed until

That strange and enchanted moment;

But most

Startling of all, was that all those

Objects felt like they were

alive,

Like they were intensely and powerfully

conscious,

And were looking back at me

With the same interest and wonder

With which I was looking at them,

while flitting

And dancing amongst all those living

And conscious objects, appeared to be

A host of very alive and incredibly

Conscious

Beings,

That I could, for but the most fleeting

Of moments, just barely get sight of

With the magical seeing

Of my inner eyes,

Beings

Who seemed to be telling me that this

Enchanted world I'd stepped into was

Their home, was their

garden,

And that it was their job to tend it during

The months of warmth and growing,

And that I was always welcome

To visit both

It,

And

Them,

But only if I did so with respect and

In a state of openness and humble

Reverence;

But however

Alive those Beings so obviously felt

To me, they were so ephemeral that

I could not long dwell on their

Existence, nor totally believe they

Could be as real as I felt

Them to be,

so though

I mentally acknowledged Their

Existence and their right to Their

Dominion over that magical realm

Which I so powerfully sensed

I had entered,

I focused

My wonder-expanded attention

On all the very alive and inner-glowing

Trees and bushes and ferns and

Wildflowers growing in the small,

And now gloaming-gloomy wood

That my steps were taking me

Through,

though not just

The organic and living things of

That stunningly alive wood were filled

With that startling sense of

aliveness,

With that inner,

living light,

For as already said, that inner, living

Light emanated from absolutely

Everything, even the dead, though

Once organic, things I saw in that

Wood, like the giant and rotting stumps

Of the long-ago logged pines that

Had once been the towering masters

Of it, to the inorganic

things,

Like the rusting hulk of an ancient

And abandoned truck relentlessly

Sinking into the rising duff of

That forest floor,

and where

Once it had proudly, swiftly, and noisily

Roamed all manner of roads, it had

Long since been most ignominiously

Reduced to little more than a giant

And silent planter, for along with a

The bushes, wildflowers, and grasses

Growing around its rusting and

Tire-bereft rims, was a white-barked

Birch growing out through a hole

In its roof,

that truck

And other supposedly dead and inert

Things seeming to my wonder-struck

Eyes to be scintillatingly alive with a

Sense

Of—

Of—

Of—

Of what I could not then have even

Begun to articulate with my literal

And limited engineer's mind, but only

much later

Learned, in my readings on the subject,

To be what that venerable mystic,

Meister Eckhart

Had called

"Istigkeit,"

Which translates as

Is-ness,

And which he most dangerously, for his

Medieval, Catholic Church-tyrannized,

Heretic-torturing-and-murdering-times,

Tried to characterize with his brave and

Heretical words,

"Where there is Isness, there God is.
Creation is the giving of Isness from
God. And that is why God becomes
Where any creature expresses God."

And which, in further readings, which

Then, and still, confound my rational

Mind, I discovered that the Buddha

Had millennia-ago made one of the

Foundations of his enlightened

Teachings,

Such-ness,

Or

Tathata,

Or

Buddha-nature,

Or

Ultimate Reality,

Or, in my own stumbling words,

. . . that ineffable "something"
that is—
as foundational to all existence
as is a canvas is to a painting,
as is an orchestra to a symphony,
as are words to this poem;
that is—
as subtle to our rational minds
as is our winter-morning breath
to the blasting winds of a blizzard;
that is—

as far beyond thought and words
as is the value of diamonds beyond
that of the shards of glass of a
shattered cola bottle. . .,

But which back then, as absolutely

Immersed as I was, both in my busy

And practical engineers life, and in

That unexpected experience

Of

Is-ness,

Of

Such-ness,

I had no words for at all, not that my

Abject inarticulateness on the subject

Concerned me, for I was more than

Satisfied just to revel in the powerful

Senses of wonder, peace, plenitude,

And meaning, that it filled me with,

though accompanying

Those rich and enthralling senses, was

A faint and distracting disquietude,

for it all

Hinted at a monstrous, hidden, looming,

And ego-annihilating reality as far

Beyond the pale of anything my

Rational, engineer-trained mind

Could conceive, as was

The dark side of the moon

Beyond the scope of anything my

Two, normal eyes could see;

And while

Still pondering the strange, disturbing,

And enthralling

Is-ness,

The profound, bewildering, and

Entrancing

Such-ness

Of those things, a force that hardly

Seemed connected to my volition,

Forward-compelled my steps to

Carry me out of the deepening

Shadows of that wood, and I was

Once again in bright, open farmland,

Where I had no choice but focus

My entranced attention on the swaths

And clumps of the many varied and

Very alive grasses, ranging from

Calf-brushing short to crown-arching

High, with some still in their fecund

Efflorescence, which not only filled

The air around them with a variety of

Sweet and subtle scents that I could

Smell with an intensity and clarity like

I never had before,

but also

Created the effect of lovely green,

Or tan, or russet mists, as they stood tall

In the soft, pollinating breezes,

while others,

Having fulfilled their destinies, arched

Gracefully and delightfully under the

Weight of a startling variety of

Burgeoning seed-heads, some like

Green or tan bottle-brushes, some like

Flags, some like feathers, some like

Delicate pine trees, and some like

Bushy foxtails, their sheer variety

Startling and enthralling me almost

As much as the incredible sense

Of vitality they possessed;


Though mixed

With these entrancing clumps and

Swaths of breeze-swaying grasses,

Were the countless varieties and

Colors and shapes and sizes of

Bright and inner-glowing wildflowers

Too numerous to describe, as the

Startling "Easter array" created by

A swatch of deep purple vetch

Twining around and through a

Clump of bright yellow

Buttercups,

though of

All of those lovely flowers, I can

Without equivocation say that I got

From them the sense they were

All "jumping up and down" with

Excitement over my willingness to

Pay attention to them, each seeming to

Want to tell me about themselves

And their properties and powers,

quite unlike

Those grasses, which, as they silently

Swayed in gentle, living breezes,

Gave off the sense of possessing an

Ancient wisdom too profound for me

To even begin to understand, and

Driving home to me why

the poet Whitman

Named his magnum opus,

"Leaves of Grass,"

and suddenly!—

As if to drive home that point, a

Powerful wind came blasting out of

Nowhere, sending the grasses that

Were growing in tall, isolated clumps,

Shaking and swaying,

while creating,

In the ones growing in thick, supple

Swaths, the sense of waves undulating

Across an expanse of very green, tan,

Russet, and very alive, water;

And as fast

As that blasting gust of wind arrived, it

Moved on, giving me the most distinct

Sense that I'd just been visited by the

Powerful spirit of great poet himself,

Who being the inveterate traveller he'd

Been in his living life, still had places

Yet to go and things yet to do, and

Didn't have the time to linger,

leaving me

Even more convinced that there was

A level of

aliveness,

A level of

consciousness,

A level of

intent

A level of

meaning,

Inherent to this old and abandoned

Road than I ever could have imagined

Or conceived of prior to my walk

Along it;

And no less!

There came to me the sense that all of

Those things we tend to automatically

And thoughtlessly accept as nothing

But dead and inert matter,

things like—

Rocks, rusting tin cans, rusting and

Toppling road signs,

things like—

The sagging, sometimes-tangled lengths

Of rusting, vine-wrapped wire stretched

Between grey and sometimes rotting,

Weather-roughened posts, half-hidden

By thick, arching geysers of

Heavy-headed grasses

things like—,

A long-abandoned, iron-wheeled, and

Horse-drawn hay rake slowly rusting

Into its inevitable oblivion not far

From that rusting, oblivion-headed

Fence with its weathered, rotting,

And oblivion-headed posts;

Yes, all

Those things, that my rational mind

Kept telling me, as my ever-strolling feet

Kept carrying me along that old and

Abandoned road, were dead and

Inert,

those things,

Like the row of skeletons of the

Anciently-planted Theves poplars,

Several of which had been struck by

Lightning, or just broken in half

Over the decades, but most of which,

Sparse of branches as they were,

Still towered in a straight line behind

A collapsing and grey-weathered

Stretch of cedar rail fence,

and behind

That phalanx of erstwhile arboreal

Soldiers, was the remnants of the

Ancient homestead laboriously created

By the farsighted pioneer who had long

Ago planted those trees to guard it from

Blasting winds and drifting snow,

nothing now

Remaining of it but the pile of rotting

Logs that had once been a homey

Cabin for that intrepid soul and his

Family, and the rugged, stone base of

An erstwhile barn, its timbers and planks

Long ago having rotted away, or more

Likely, been scavenged,

while leaning

Against that old stone base, half hidden

In a clump of sparse-blooming hollyhocks

And arching grasses, was a weathered,

Spoke-sparse wagon wheel, the wagon,

Like its owners, long before

Having "gone to earth,"

all of

These either dead or always inert

things,

Continuing to give off the very distracting

Sense of being absolutely

alive,

Continuing to give off the very distracting

Sense, to my

inner-eyes,

Of being full of that inner and

living light,

Full of that entrancing but confounding

Sense of

is-ness,

That perplexing sense of

such-ness,

It all enmeshed in a vast matrix of

Equally

living light

That intrinsically connected them, and

About which all rational thinking

Made my head feel as though it

Was an over-blown balloon on

The verge of bursting!

And so

I abandoned that vain and distracting

Cognitive folly, and dragged my mind

Away from the allure of trying to envision

The family that had once, with more

Toil and tears than I could modernly

Imagine, made that homestead a

Vibrant and productive farm, and

Whether any of its descendants

Still lived in the area,

but a pressing

Inner restlessness prodded at me

To keep moving, and I continued my

Wondrous walk down that old and

Abandoned road, my attention then

Being most delightfully captivated for

A few minutes, by a pair of bobolinks

Fluttering about in a small aspen

Growing just inside a grey, weathered,

And collapsing gate still struggling

To stand between two grey, weathered,

And ready-to-fall wooden posts,

behind which

Two ancient ruts, still faintly visible

In the grasses and wildflowers,

Curved to the right,

leading to

A heap of rubble overgrown with

Bushes, grasses, and wildflowers,

The origin of which I would never

Have been able to deduce without

the sight,

Barely visible amongst the grasses,

Wildflowers, and bushes,

of two,

Tall, much-weathered, headstones,

The closer one, of black granite, and

With a rounded top, was tilting to

Its left, while the other, of pink granite,

And with a carved, much weathered

Cross atop it, leaning forward,

informing me

That I was passing an

Old churchyard;


And remain

There, I had no choice but do,

Enswaddled in that enchanted

NOW,

For what I rationally knew had to be

A span of nose-to-tail connected minutes,

But which I sensed to be, at best,

An utterly timeless second,

as I gazed

At that ancient and abandoned churchyard,

At that heap of rubble that had once

Been a village church laboriously

Built by faithful volunteers with

Precious little time and energy to

Spare from their arduous

Farming labors,

and faithfully

Filled each Sunday for weekly

Services, and used as much for

Marriages and christenings as for

The funerals that had preceded

The installation of those two

Headstones, which I couldn't stop

Staring at,

and while

Staring at them and trying to imagine

Just who the obviously prosperous

And important parishioners had been,

Whose bone-dust now mixed with

The rich soil beneath those

Expensive markers,

I was beset

With a vision of other, more humble

Headstones, lying ignominiously

Around them, long hidden by the

Grasses, wildflowers, and bushes,

and of course,

The plethora of simple, perhaps

White-painted wooden crosses of

The humbler, or more frugal folk,

That first would have lost their paint,

Then fallen over, then long ago

Have rotted into the soil, vanishing

As thoroughly and ignominiously

As had

their "owners,"

The whole, elegiac scene, first filling

My head with drear thoughts about

The obvious fleeting, and possible

Vain, nature of all human life and

All human endeavor,

then causing

The tune and the words to the

Beatles' famous and haunting

"Eleanor Rigby,"

To waft into my head

and most glad

Was I when my attention got snapped

Out of that dolorous reverie, however

Timeless it might have been, by a

Sudden burst of the singing of

The male bobolink, a Beatle

In his own right, so smartly attired

As he was in his black-and-white tux,

As he made several flights out of

That aspen tree and over the

Graveyard, banishing my gloomy

Mood with his rich bubbling song,

that itself

Was a very living, aural presence

In that ever-deepening gloaming;

But after

Watching that small, black-and-white

Bird and listening to its big, bright,

Delightful, and living song, for

What probably was several minutes,

I felt compelled to glance back,

Past that ancient homestead, and at

The mass that small wood I'd walked

Through, momentarily seeing it with

My

inner-eyes

As a huge and pulsating glow of

Eckhart's

"Istigkeit,"

Of

Is-ness,

Of that

living light,

Which forthwith vanished as my

Outer-eyes demanded their dominant

Due, and forced me to see it glowing

A deep and magical red in the lateral

Light of that huge, red-westering sun,

though swear

I will, that even as I looked at its

Red-glowing beauty with my

Outer-eyes, something deep within

Me most powerfully sensed that

Wood, not as a beautiful array of

Trees and shrubs and ferns and

Flowers, but as a giant, living,

Benevolent and lonely

Being,

Who was begging me to come back

And visit with it a while longer,

And though strong was my desire

To do just that,

stronger yet

Was that volition-overriding force,

That

inner urge,

That had compelled me to leave it

In the first place,

An

inner urge,

That made me feel increasingly

Discomfited the longer I resisted it,

So I gave in to that

inner urge,

And continued to stroll along

What I had no choice but to perceive

As the obviously living gravel of that

Very living, old, abandoned, and

Utterly

enchanted road

That was slowly succumbing

To the relentless invading green of

Tree, bush, grass, and wildflower.


PETAL TWO
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And as

I was thus so wondrous continuing my

Stroll down that magical old road,

I heard a sharp and startling,

KEEEEEEEYAAAHHHHHHHH . . . . .
Off to my left, and looking for its source,

Saw a huge broad-winged hawk

Overhead, brightly aglow

as much

With the reddening light of that

Westering sun, as with its own inner

And living light,

soaring high

In that soft and hazy sky of a living,

And ever-deepening blue,

soaring high

In front of a towering massif

Of violently roiling and swelling

Red-glowing clouds distantly looming

Over the southern horizon, every one

Of those immense and billowing

Monsters also brilliantly aglow with

That inner and living light, and

Feeling to me more vibrant, alive,

And ominously intimidating, than

Anything I'd theretofore in my life,

Set my eyes upon;

Yes, soaring

High and free was that twice-glowing

Hawk in front of that distantly looming

Mountain range of clouds,

and above

A broad field of fresh-cut hay

Whose rich and living fragrance

Was as breath-invigorating as it was

Spirit-enchanting,

and as

That great bird, on its broad and

Steady wings, circle-soared over that

Sun-reddened field in front of

That massive phalanx of ominous

And red-glowing clouds,

it created

A glowing, iridescent ring in the sky,

The sight of which made

The

essential me,

My

Inmost Being,

Feel like it was leaping out of my chest

And effortlessly flying up to that

Circular, sky-decorating rainbow,

Where I ecstatically melded

With that mighty hawk,

allowing me

To at once both be standing on the

Ground watching that splendid bird,

And to be

soaring,

Feather-light and utterly free through

The reddening sky, ensconced

Within its feathered breast,

soaring

For an exhilarating and enchanted span

Of soothingly timeless minutes on

Its broad and powerful wings, and

Gazing at the glorious, red-glowing

World spreading out below me with

Such keen eyesight I could see every

Feature of the ground and hay-stubble

In such explicit detail it was as though I

Was looking at it through a telescope,

and when

The furtive movement of a small grey

Rabbit foraging on the far side of a low,

Tree-topped hill to the south, hooked

My incredible, keen-seeing eyes, I

was instantly

Overwhelmed with a searing and

Gut-gnawing hunger, and without

Even a flicker of thought or a hint

Of hesitation, I effortlessly flapped

My mighty wings several times then

Entered a long, soaring dive towards

That suddenly very still, but yet

Clearly visible, rabbit,

then abruptly

—and far too soon!—

I felt that enchanted melding being

Shattered, felt myself being dragged

Back into my suddenly coarse, heavy,

And earth-bound body, my now feeble

And short-sighted eyes immediately

And desperately searching for the

Soothing sight of that superb and

Easy-soaring creature;


But no longer

Was it to be seen, it having dived out

Of my ground-bound sight behind

A distant, elm-crested hill, beyond

Which that horizon-spanning bank

Of red-glowing clouds so regally,

And living, towered,

and with

That magical and serendipitous flight

Over, I felt a momentary cloud of

Intense sadness drift across the

Sun of my exhilarated mood,

but quickly

It passed, and I resumed my

Once again enchanted and timeless

Walk through a throng of wildflowers

And grasses, which even as I was

Focusing my now keen and rapt

Attention on the inner-glowing

Multitude of them, I was startled

By a flurry of wing-flapping activity

Near my right foot and a loud,

Sharp series of rich, sputtering cries—

dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deedeedededede . . .
dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deedeedededede . . .

Followed by the sight of a brightly glowing,

Very injured, wing-dragging killdeer,

Scurrying up the road in front of me

As it continued its loud sputtering—

dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deedeedededede . . .
dee-dee-dee-dee-dee-deedeedededede . . .

And though I knew about this

"distraction display"

From watching a TV documentary on it,

This was the first time I'd encountered it

Personally, and I was stunned by the

Academy Award-deserving act put on

By that Ma or Pa Killdeer,

and as soon

As it had "led" me to what it considered

As safe distance from its hidden, but

Very vulnerable ground-nest, it ceased

It's cries, its inner glow subsided, and

It darted, injured wing suddenly healed,

Into the thick throng of wildflower and

Grasses on the left of the road,

leaving me

Smiling and thrilled to have been so

Blessed as to have witnessed, not only

That famous display of parental acting, but

The genius of Mother Nature to have

Programmed it into this very

Beautiful and lively bird,

and with

Those heart-glowing thoughts in my

Head, I strolled on, and after descending

A long, somewhat steep hill, I arrived at

An old, wooden bridge that crossed

What surely must have been the same

River that cement bridge on the

Main road crossed,

its waters,

Swift and swollen from recent storms

As they rippled and flowed around

A small island covered in bushes,

Grasses, and wildflowers,

and feeling

Even more intrinsically

alive

Than most of the other "things"

Along that

everything-is-alive,

Road, and as I stared down at its

Muddy, roiling, very alive waters,

I could not but remember that scene

From the very distantly, youth-read

Iliad,

Where the mighty and enraged,

Trojan-slaughtering Achilles, gets

Chased by the equally-enraged river

Scamander,

For his persistence in clogging up its

Water courses with Trojan corpses;

While growing

Out of that island's matted mess of

Greenery and color, was an ancient

Willow all aglow with a potent

inner light,

Its many massive, rough-barked,

Trunks spreading in all directions,

Each erupting in a contorted array

Of green-leafed branches,

with one

Of those massive, rough-barked trunks

Leaning far enough over those

Swift-flowing and very living waters

That its green-leafed branches shaded

The right-hand shore, and beneath

Which slumbered a huge, living,

And soft-glowing boulder, one of

Those erratics as the geologists

Call them, dropped at that exact spot

By a glacier during its

time-out-of mind

Retreat, first to the north, then into

Its fateful, land-flooding oblivion,

Which the drooping leaves of that

Willow seemed to lovingly caress,

while from

That stout, rough-barked trunk hung

A thick rope with an old tire attached

A couple of feet above its knotted end,

The broad and fading white-wall of

That superannuated road-roller

Glowing red in the light

Of the setting sun;

And after

Standing for what must have been a

Handful of serene, magical, and

Timeless minutes on the rough,

Creosote-fading planks of that old

Bridge, while gently leaning on a

Frail old handrail and staring,

First down at the rushing waters of

That storm-swollen river,

then at

The swift, convoluted, and

Astoundingly acrobatic flights of

The dozens of barn swallows that had

Made their nests along the thick,

River-stretching beams of that old

Bridge, and were busy catching gnats

And mosquitoes for what was likely

Their second brood of ever-hungry

Chicks,

they too,

Glowing with that inner and living

Light, each leaving convoluted contrails

In the darkening space

Over that river;

And it was

While absorbed in both gazing at

Those tireless and amazingly acrobatic

Birds leaving their glowing, complex

Contrails in the deepening dusk of that

River scene,

and listening

To the ceaseless murmuring of its

Rushing waters, that I slipped into a

Languid, but vivid vision,

about being

A young lad again with

A fishing pole,

A can of worms, and

A delightfully long hot afternoon

Stretched out before me, no broccoli

Of worries on the plate of my day,

And no fishhook-in-the-finger tasks

To perform beyond the delightfully

Simple one of wonderfully wasting all

The time-slipping hours of that

Long, hot, and magical afternoon,

My legs dangling over the edge

Of that wooden bridge, playing

Huck Finn-hooky from the harsh

School of life, while not caring if I

Caught even a single fish, and

When I got too hot, or bored with

Those fish that didn't like my worms,

I'd go for a cooling swim in the

Swift waters of that living river, and

Playing Tarzan by climbing that

Big old monster of a rock, then

Swinging out over those rushing

Waters and whooping and hollering

As I delightfully dropped

Into their cooling depths;

But all

Too soon I was gently pulled

Out of that entrancing vision by

The powerful sense that I was being

Watched by someone, and all on

Its own, my head turned to my right

And I found myself looking down

Into a patch of shadow formed

By a tall stand of raspberry canes, their

Large ripe red fruits glowing with

That inner and living light and easily

Visible even at that distance, the

Plump weight of them pulling those

Stems into graceful arches,

and after

Giving in to a strange compulsion to

Stare into that shadow created by those

Canes, I realized I was looking at a

red fox,

Who was half-hidden behind them

And staring intently at me, and at

The instant of our eyes meeting, I was

Filled with the powerful sense that

It was telling me that it was getting

Late, and that I must get off that bridge

And get on with my walk,

and as quickly

As I "heard" that message in my

Startled mind, the fox turned and

Slipped out of sight into the raspberry

Bushes,

and though

In my mind I did not want to leave

That bridge, the enthralling sight of

Those busy, acrobatic birds, and the

Enchanting murmurations of that

Swollen and swift-flowing river,

that force,

That

inner urge,

That had been prodding me along each

Leg of my journey along that old

And abandoned road,

was again,

Like a concerned mother trying to get

Her tardy, morning-dawdling son

Out the door and on his way

To school,

prodding me

To listen to the message delivered by

that wise fox,

And continue on with my walk,

And with great reluctance, I turned,

Made my way off the delightful bridge,

and walked

Further down that road, and not

Fifty paces had I strolled, through a

Veritable bantam-forest of tall,

Ambrosia-scented, yellow sweet clover

That shimmered with that inner and

Living light, even as it was absolutely

Alive and buzzing with what must

Have been a whole hive of

Late-foraging and nectar-hungry

Bees,

each one,

In its wing-buzzing and

Furious-foraging turn, glowing

With that faint, radiant light,

when abruptly

I was startled out of my languid

Reverie by the sudden and sharp

bzee-BURBLE-aawwnkk-brrraawwnngk!

Of a red-winged blackbird, brightly

Aglow with that inner and

living light,

Closely watching me as it clung

To the top of one of dozens of

Those "corndog" flowers shooting up

From a thick green stand of cattails,

something

In that harsh and startling screech

Filling me with a need to walk over

And investigate that ditch-growing

Jungle of brown-flowering plants,

my approach

Setting the blackbird to flight

With a sharp and annoyed
CHAAKKK!

As it flew off over that sweet-scented

Field of new-mown hay glowing

A faint red in front of that brighter

Glowing massif of sun-reddened clouds

That was so frighteningly alive with

A burgeoning, and almost overwhelming

Sense of Eckhart's

"Istigkeit,"

And as that bird flew towards the

Topmost branches of a spreading old

Oak towering in the center of that field

And glowing, not only with the reddening

Light from that huge, west-settling

Sun, but as well, with that very

Familiar, radiant and living light,

most clear

Was I able to startling see, as it

Neared that twice-glowing tree, that

Like with those swallows at the river,

There trailed behind it a glowing

Contrail of that radiant,

living light

That remained attached to those

Now equally-glowing cattails

It had taken off from,

even as

A glowing streamer of that

Same radiant,

living light

Leapt out from that oak tree and

Appeared to grab hold of that glowing

Blackbird and lovingly pull it into its

Glowing breast of thick,

Green foliage;

And know not,

How many of the stunned and timeless

Seconds that I gazed at that wondrous

Scene, my vision of those glowing

Contrails of light slowly refining until

I realized that I was again seeing that

Amazing and

living light

Filling up the matrix of space within

My vision, with those contrails I

Was seeing

being but

Brighter aspects of it, and that waves

And strands of that

living light

Were clearly visible emanating

Even from me, with slim spears

Of it being flung from my eyes

And streaking towards whatever

I chose to look at!

Though, not

Long could I marvel about that strange

And wondrous vision before I felt a

Gentle nudging at the edge of my

Consciousness, informing me that I was

Again being watched, this time by

Some very powerfully alive

Being,

And barely had I become aware of that

Gentle nudging than my head, again,

As with that fox, all on its own volition,

Turned so that my eyes could gaze

Directly east,

and there!—

Still half-hidden by the red-glowing

Tops of the aspens in the small and

Lonely wood I'd just walked through,

Was the

Moon,

Glowing red and unnaturally huge

And swollen, floating out of the mass

Of trees of that wood that seemed to

Be vainly clinging to it as it made its

Slow and inevitable ascent,

and take

My breath away,

and make

My heart bass drum-thump in my breast,

Did my sudden and unexpected sight

Of that red-glowing monster,

that seemed

Like no monster at all, but like some

Giant and benevolent

friend,

Or more, like a

guardian!

Like a

guide!

Like the ever-vigilant Athene, to the

Weary Odysseus on his long trek home

In Homer's long-famous Odyssey,

Who was not only more alive than

Than any person I'd ever

Lifelong encountered,

but who,

Like that hawk, was twice-glowing,

As much with the reddening light

Of the setting sun, as with its own

Inner and living light,

and truly

Like no monster was this living,

Glowing, slow-ascending companion

Of our blue and fecund planet,

For she seemed to be

smiling!

At me with a most benevolent and

Caring of smiles,

even as

The return of the thought about her

Being as the goddess Athene,

Caused to pop into my

Enchantment-addled head,

The name,

Selene,

Which, as I was once informed by

My wife Joy,

[who had "wasted" her university
years on a most impractical, but
infinitely interesting, liberal arts
degree full of Classical studies]

Is the name the Ancient Greeks' gave

To the Moon, considering Her to be

One of their major goddesses,

and could

I then not but do what all mortal

Men must do in the presence

Of a beautiful

Goddess—

Gaze at her in reverent wonder as

She slowly wrenched Herself free of

The clasping arms of that lonely,

Gloaming-darkened wood, in order

That She begin to drive Her silver

Chariot on its nightlong voyage

Across the slowly empurpling sky;

And gaze

At Her for many more delightful and

Entrancing minutes I certainly would

Have,

had not—

I suddenly again felt something nudging

At my consciousness,

had not—

I suddenly again felt my head, all on its

Own, turning away from the swollen,

Red, and breathtakingly alive

Magnificence of that

Swift-climbing Goddess,

had not—

I suddenly again felt my eyes being

Drawn back to that verdant mass of

Cattails, and the array of "corndog"

Flowers blooming atop it,

and as

My mind filled with the silly thought

Of them looking almost good

Enough to eat,

I felt

My eyes being forcibly drawn down

From those brown and soft-glowing

Flowers that no one ever thinks of

As flowers, to an even brighter,

radiant glow

That was half-hidden in a dusk-dim

Recess of the lush green foliage at

The base of that thick phalanx

Of cattails;

And barely

Had I focused my eyes, as best

As I was able, on that shimmering,

Radiant, and half-hidden glow,

Than there slowly emerged from

Within its nebulous depths, the

Strengthening image

Of

a

FLOWER,

And even as I gazed at that

FLOWER,

I wondrous witnessed the glow around

It brightening and expanding,

first,

Until it warming enveloped me,

then,

As it explosively expanded skyward,

As if intent on embracing the whole,

Star-sprinkled, galaxy-studded

Universe;

But this

Was no flower like any I'd ever

Seen before, growing freely in any

Wild place, or cultivated, with great

Skill and care, in any garden

Fenced and neat, and I

Could but—

stare at it!

Could but—

stare at it,

In thought-obliterating wonder,

Could but

stare at it,

In soul-shuddering surprise,

Could but

drawn near it,

In total befuddlement, that I might

Closer look at it, but as I stumbled

Close, a bright steamer of that

Radiant,

living light

Arrow-shot into my heart-thumping

Chest, and feel did I, that streamer

Of

living light,

As a

blazing fire,

But a fire I felt, not with my physical

Body, nor with my now-pounding

Physical heart,

but with

Some deep, long-hidden, and

Incorporeal part of me, and with

The strange passing of that

Radiant,

living light,

Of that

blazing fire,

Into that deep and long-hidden

Part of me, I was instantly possessed

With a strange power of double vision,

Such that even while looking at that

Incredibly beautiful and entrancing

Flower growing in the center of

That that radiant glow emanating

From that dark tangle of leaves,

I was able

To watch, as that incredible

blazing fire

Began to rapidly melt a massive

Glacier which had long been

Crushing a small island locked

In the midst of a thick-frozen sea

Within my psyche,

such that

Right before my stunned and

In-seeing eyes, I watched that island

Break free of its glacial cover even as

That once vast and gelid expanse of

Thick, white ice rapidly transformed

Into a blue, sun-glinting, and

Wave-surging sea crashing onto

The broad and sandy beaches

Of that long-hidden island.


PETAL THREE
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Too weak

To stand in the face of both

Of those unexpected and

Unfathomable visions, I pulled

My eyes away from the

inner one,

Of the vast blue sea and that

Small island, and focused on

That

FLOWER,

As I stumbled near to it

that I might

Sit in its radiant and living light,

that I might

Warm and soothing sit

In that magical

fire,

So hotly blazing in its profound

And limitless depths, and

as I

Silent and incredulous sat in Its

Soothing, radiant warmth, there

Grew within me such a burgeoning

Wonder, that I felt inclined to

Outward reach, that I might it pick

And homeward take, to place upon

The sill of my bedroom window,

And there admire as my own,

Hoping dearly—

That it might dispel the crushing

Sense of meaninglessness that I

Only now realized I'd been feeling

For so long, and which I'd been putting

So much energy into suppressing

All awareness of feeling,

Until encountering

That

FLOWER,

Hoping dearly—

That it might dispel the crushing

Burden of my ever-busy and

Always-striving days that I had

Not known had been such a burden

Until encountering

That

FLOWER,

Hoping dearly—

That it might dispel the crushing

Burden of my ever-busy and

Always-striving days that I

Suddenly saw to be as empty as

Any ditch-flung beer bottle, and

Which I had not known to be

Such a crushing burden

Until encountering

That

FLOWER!

But my hand

Was sudden stayed, not by my own

Will, but by an invisible force,

just as

A soft and loving female voice

Rose up out of the depths of some

Long-hidden recess of my

Inmost Being,

And most startling filled my head,

"It must remain, for a
Blossom of Eternity
it is!"

And at the instant that soft voice

Ceased speaking those few and

Astounding words,

The potent

knowing

Filled my mind, that pick it I

surely could,

But would it then not but

Quickly wilt and die, its petals

One by one to drop into the dust

Of that barren sill, till not even

A shadow could it cast when the

Mourning doves of four gentle

Gloamings, had swift and silent

Flown away?

And again,

While that sad image so vivid filled

My agitated mind, that soft and

Loving voice again filled my head

And firmly resonated through

My total being,

"It can only be taken
earth and root and all,
or not at all!—
It will only survive if
transplanted into a safe
and nurturing garden."

those words

Filling me with the strange and potent

knowing,

That the melted sea and the ice-free

Shores of that inner island, were

Were only temporary states, and

That most quickly would they again

Become gelid wastelands when the

Enchantment that had been enveloping

Me on my unexpected walk down

That old, abandoned, timeless,

And ever-so magical road,

wore off,

And the heat from the radiant

fire

Of that

FLOWER,

Of that

Blossom of Eternity,

Had cooled, and so, in the soft,

High-summer enchantment of the

Cricket-chorused stillness

Gentle-clinging to the amethyst hues

Of the slow-fading sunset glow,

and while

Being watched over by the

Benevolent and swift-rising

Selene,

I sat with that magical

FLOWER,

With that

Blossom of Eternity,

In an alien-to-me state of total

plenitude and peace,

Feeling utterly content

Just to

BE

With It;


Just to

BE

In Its warm and radiant presence;

Just to

admire

Its rare and exquisite beauty;

Just to

soak

In the hot spring of that plenitude

And peace;

Just to

float

In the warm and magical waters of

The healing pool of Its presence;

Though as

I was so doing, It appeared to look

Look right at me,

And

waver?

Almost as though It

knew me?

And had some great secret that

It felt a pressing need

to tell?

But perhaps,

As I most quickly and logically thought,

That wavering had just been the action

Of gentle, wafting breeze?

Though then

Some most illogical of thoughts

Filled my enchantment-addled and

Time-escaped mind, suggesting

That breeze might not have been

A breeze at all, but just some

Lonely spirit out searching

The drowsing fields for company,

Or for its dusk-roaming kin,

Or just out to say goodbye to its

Departing god, Helios;

Though quick

Was I in the face of such childish

Thinking, that most likely it was

Just the silly monkey of my ego

Getting manic and capricious after

Stumbling upon a

FLOWER

Of such rare, exquisite, and

Ethereal beauty,

that it

Puffed itself up, as it has been ever

Wont to do, with grandiose

delusions

Of its self-importance, and

illusions

Of its immortality!

But even!—

As the thickening veil of empurpling

Dusk soft and timeless descended;

But even!—

As I made a reluctant intent

To leave;

But even!—

As I slow and unwilling backed away,

Making sure to mark the spot along

That old and abandoned road, by

Noting in my barely functioning

Rational mind, an ancient, discarded,

And

rusting plow,

Half-buried in the crest of the berm

Directly above It, and almost hidden

In grasses and wildflowers;

But even!—

As several unwilling backward steps

I halting took, and one more backward

Glance, I longing gave It,

I sensed

That It was trying to tell me

That It

knew me—

[I swear to you—it did!]

"HOW ABSURD!"

Shouted Father Reason;

Yes!—

Most truly it did!

It appeared

To know me, and in

Thus somehow knowing me,

It appeared

To plead with me to longer stay!

[In truth—it did! I swear! I swear!]

"YOUR HEAD'S A MUDDLE!

Again shouted Father Reason,

"GO HOME AND SLEEP!"

But how could it know me?

and why

Would it want my crass company?

"TARRY NOT, FOOL THOU ART—
WISE YOU'D BE TO INSTANT DEPART!"

Ah yes!—

A fool I truly must be, thought I,

Acknowledging to myself that my

Mind was again behaving as when

I was a child, and I had absolutely

No control over it,

again behaving

As when daydreams and illusions

Had gamboled in its broad, blue-sky

Spaces like lambs and kids in

Sun-warmed spring pastures,

Forcing me to whisper:

"Oh, beautiful Blossom of Eternity,
What could you ever want of me?
Bound as I am to this material shore,
A weak, mortal man—nothing more!"

And stay

With It as long as I was able, as that

Soft and lingering dusk timelessly

Deepened to slow-darkening night,

till finally

A buzzing hoard of mosquitoes

Swarmed out of the darkness to

Sanguineously dine on every square

Inch of my exposed flesh,

leaving me

No choice but to flee the bright and

Enchanting company of that

Strange and magical flower,

That

Blossom of Eternity,

And by the blessed and beaming light

Of that high-climbing Goddess, I

Made my mosquito-swatting way

Back along that old, abandoned road,

The soft, warm air around me

Breathtakingly redolent with the

Combined and ambrosial scents

Of sweet clover and fresh cut hay,

and as

I was walking past that ancient

Graveyard I head the loud,

Buzzing

pzzzzeeeeennt!
pzzzzeeeeennt!

Of several nighthawks flying over it,

And looking up into that deepening,

Gloaming light, was able to spot

Their bright white wing-blazes

Flashing and diving through

That dusky gloom,

and watch

Them I could have timelessly longer

But that horde of

Messerschmitt-mosquitoes

Was most effective a prodding me

Along that old and abandoned road,

Until I reached that old wooden

Bridge that was now painted a

Gun-metal grey by the silver light

Of that high-climbing Goddess,

Stopping on it for only a few,

Mosquito-slapping seconds to listen,

first

To the haunting call of a distant

Whip-poor-will,

As it flew along the river, it's

Soft, lonesome, and

Down-Dopplering

whip,prrrr-WEEEEL!
whip,prrrr-WEEEEL!

Telling me it was heading away

From me,

then,

Above the insistent buzz of the

Mosquitoes, to the sibilant

Susurration of the swift-flowing

Waters of that river, it now feeling

Even more alive than before,

Sporting as it was its smart,

Sparkling, silver-grey dinner jacket

Of the bright and living light of

That high-climbing Goddess;

Though as

I turned to walk off that bridge, my

Attention was caught by a soft and

Distant flash to my right, and gazing

To the south, saw, hovering along

That distant, slow-darkening horizon,

An even darker ridge of towering

Mountains that I knew could

Only be those massive and

Living clouds I'd seen earlier,

They now seeming ever more and

Violently alive as they were being

Most eerily lit, and their roiling

Billows adumbrated from within by

Desultory flashes of lightning,

and glad

Was I they were far enough away

That I heard no thunder from those

Flashes, and had no concerns about

Having to make my way home

Through their storm-violence;

So onward

I strolled into that damp-earth scented,

Mosquito-swarming and eerily

Goddess-lit, wood that now seemed

Even more alive than before,

not just with—

The potent and pervasive

aliveness,

Of everything about that old and

Abandoned road, and

not just with—

That wood's obvious desire that I

Stop and spent the night in its

Lonely company,

not just with—

All the soft rustling and scraping

Sounds of the many small,

Night-scurrying animals filling

My darkness-sensitive ears,

not just with—

The cracking of a branch just off

To my left, and the scraping of

Others, followed by loud

WHOOSHING

Sounds, that sent my heart into my

Mouth and almost caused me to

Most embarrassingly "fill my pants,"

Until several distant,

hoo, hoo-hoo's

Informed me that I'd startled an owl

Who'd been perched high in a tree

Near the road and listening to those

Soft rustlings and scrapings

and my loud and clumsy footsteps!—

Even more closely, and with infinitely

Keener ears, than mine,

not just with—

All the looming shapes in it that

Eerily silver-lit wood that my

Suddenly over-active imagination

Kept turning into huge, lurking bears

Ever ready charge out of their

Shadow-lairs and pounce on me

For their evening meal, and

Bringing back distant, yet most

Vivid, memories of being five

Years old, and even while safely

Lying in my warm bed, with my

Mother not four feet away, feeling

The abject terror of poor Mole,

Night-lost in "the Wild Wood,"

As she read, for the umpteenth time,

[I had no use for the childish
Peter Rabbit stories she continually
tried to foist on me as she grew
infinitely more weary of the many
adventures of Rat, and Mole, and
Toad, and Badger, than ever did I!]


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