Sunday, November 6, 2011
After the Backyard Chicken Workshop
This photo of my hens was taken last April by Sara Cress, a professional photographer. The hens are two years old, laying well, and in their new feathers. I love them! The poem comes after the October workshop.
THAT INNER CIRCLING SUN XXVIII. After Chicken Workshop. October 9, 2011
Earlier in poem X of this book I wrote:
Yet we flourish. The Muse speaks.
We eat well from food we grew
and saved. Time opens its huge
flower. We live closer than ever to
the end of our lives, with maybe
four/fifths of our work done, and
yet we see inwardly and outwardly
into the souls of others, better than ever,
and some few see us well enough
to love and nourish us.
Then in poem XV:
May Creation’s awesome power enliven
my every hour and hold me steady
on my course, comforting, like a
frightened dog in a thunderstorm,
every nightmare my depths send up
to warn me that I’m getting old.
And in poem XXVI:
It isn’t size that matters
or whether people notice you all
the time. It’s that you live, you
flourish, you do the work you’ve
cut out for yourself every day.
It isn’t how I’m seen, but how I see.
I picked up his bored, discontented air,
wondered why he was here if he didn’t
want to learn, wondered what he saw
as others, their eyes alive with curiosity
and later gratitude, asked questions,
stared at my hens as if to memorize
every motion of their chicken behavior.
The hens fled their curiosity but returned
to peck at the corn and oats I tossed out.
That one’s not tuning in, feeling contempt,
making some judgment I wouldn’t like
but, more importantly, will make him
sick if he doesn’t let go his refusal
to see what might make his life bearable,
even pleasant. Was I seeing my enemy
then, Despair? I’m moving into
Erikson’s last stage of human maturity:
ego integrity versus despair, which
hovers in the wings, picky, discounting
whatever I’ve already achieved, throwing
wet blankets on my scheme to flourish
into and through my nineties. But the
upshot of these inner wrestling matches
will be enhanced surety, an unerring
confidence in my worth and sense of
direction. Remember: your life goes
well, and smoothly runs the river that
was once merely an intermittent creek
bed, leaf-strewn, susceptible to drought,
at times a dirt path, then a gushing
flood, hoisting heavy debris out of
its way. Even doubters and nay-sayers
notice things. Will he remember
something from his hours in my presence,
see chickweed spring up in his own
lawn and let it grow to feed his hens?
Will he revel in an omelet prepared
with fresh onions, herbs, and cheese,
eaten with new laid eggs? Will he
notice the ever-changing life around
him when he stands in a field? Will he
hear bird call, chicken gabble, soft
wind rustling grasses gone to seed?