The Garden releases its last
radiance, not as something failed,
but as its full reason for being: to give
continually, to its last bit of energetic being.
Its giving is its beauty. It is a smile,
it is the heart of love.
So the birdsong that surrounds me
is given, not away, but into the world.
It is given as rain, as sunlight, as snowfall
and autumn leaves. It falls on our ears
as what it is, with no deception,
the complete truth of being.
Even the smell of decay, drifting from
the deer, dead by the side of the road, says:
“This is what I am and no other. I do not
pretend to be. Even in death I speak
without deceit, even unto my flesh,
my very bones.”
Be tolerant of these songs,
my musings on the way these things are
For I cannot give up this Summer except by
giving myself as well, fully and completely,
into the praise of our mutual beauty,
our total loving of the World.
It is past equinox of course but I responded viscerally to this poem when I read it.
I had recently read a piece by Parker Palmer (thank you Margaret) on the paradox of how the dying of the year in autumn on which we tend to focus also contains the “hope of a certain beauty”. That darkness is part of the wholeness of life, the natural cycles of seasons, the sowing of seeds of new life.
I appreciate the poet’s reminder that autumn is not a failure but a giving, Its giving is its beauty. It is a smile, / it is the heart of love. The birdsong, the rain, the sunlight and snowfall, all this comes to us as what it is, with no deception, / the complete truth of being. Even in death, This is what I am and no other. I do not / pretend to be.
And finally, I cannot give up this Summer except by / giving myself as well, fully and completely, / into the praise of our mutual beauty, / our total loving of the World. Can you feel the call to give yourself fully to this beautiful world, to praise the beauty that is part of the wholeness of life for all of us?
Let this poem be a reminder to give yourself away, to increase the beauty of this world. As the poet Wendell Berry says Every day you have less reason / not to give yourself away.
And now may I give you one of my own.
The sacred language of the breath
has no words:
a speechless entry
into the body, a tidal connection
with all that is,
the language we were born into,
the last silent word at our death.
It is the poetry of call and response:
inhaling news of the world,
exhaling delight and despair,
inhaling stories of life and death,
exhaling our own narratives
in sound no more than a whisper.
With each breath we take
life is poured into every cell,
announcing our presence
without ever saying a word.