Sunday, April 27, 2014

We Only Pass Once

Heron fishing.  Photo by Richard Hayes.


A THREAD OF LIGHT VIII. First Day of Autumn, September 22, 2013

We only pass once, but
these rivers of ours continue.  What we
leave they hold in their cold foam,
their flowing silken motion.  Let us
create ourselves while we still understand
what it means to be alive here, alone
and not alone, in a one-time only Paradise.
The only Infernos here are of our own
making, when we go blind with fear,
when we can’t hear the lullaby of the
waters or feel how the Sun wants us
to be warm and happy.  With our choices
why not be simple and take what the river
gives today and live as well as the
beavers live without complaint?  We all
know who we are if we think about it.
Our nature can always tell us what
we should be doing if we listen,
if we trace the signs.  There aren’t
any excuses if even one tree
releases the gold locked in its cells
and falls gently toward the river
that gives it to drink, grateful,
solemn, in earnest, because gold
light, and orange at the edges, are
what sun taught the sap long
before light arrived to bless this
gift of the cells, of the tree Self,
of the wisdom at rest in the roots.
Beaver Soul 29, Devon, 1992

It isn’t so much what you believe in
as that you do believe.  Doubts creep
in when your attention lapses–insidious,
deepening distrust of yourself, the life
you live, the work you do.  The created
order has the answer to despair.  Too
much rain did its worst, starving the
roots of oxygen, nurturing downy mildew, 
rotting the vines of cucumber and tomato,
yellowing their leaves.  The trees let go
their leaves as they fought to breathe.
I grieved for spoiled fruit, the rampant
growth of weeds.  Garden and orchard
seemed doomed.  Only the green beans
and the figs stuck it out.  Then sun
lifted the scourge.  The cucumbers
began to lengthen.  I spotted tomatoes
turning red among their tangled vines
and weeds.  Leaves returned to the
apricot; the smallest apple tree bloomed
in September.  Our climate may be
whimsical, but there are deeper 
principles at work in the Universe.
Death is an ever-present reality, but 
hardly the whole story.  Plants teach us.  
Trees hold seminars in survival.  
Take in rain when it falls. Wait for 
sun.  Life turns emphatic: Grow!  
To despair is to miss out on the rewards 
of holding on, anticipating a resurgence 
of the will to live and flourish, 
to give one’s last strength to fruit.


  1. Beautiful and insightful poetry, Judy. Your poems of nature and life speak to me.

  2. Go ahead, Judy! Use that creativity!! Remain an angry old lady as "they" remain ignorant and arrogant (lethal combination) to what will harm even them.

  3. Thanks, Diane. I think of myself as a grain of sand, and maybe steamrollers will get me one day, but I'll put some grit out there meantime. Don't worry. I'll fuss when something needs fussing about. Cheers, Judy