How Things Grow

Why do I not grow?  These leaves stay small and brittle.  They do not flair outwards like yours.  My bark is still soft, my branches are few.

Ah, said the old tree as it bent over the sapling.  Its leaves bristled against the young tree’s bark.

What you describe is not growth.

This is how you really grow.  In secret, discontent, discomfort, in ways that you don’t always want to.  You grow when your tendrils grow sore and strained, your young shoots get scorched in the sun.  You grow under the surface, in the cold, dark, wetness.  You will compete with the others for space, you will be assailed by owls and rodents.

You do not grow while thinking about growth.  You look back after a long life and notice it.

These leaves?  Do not envy them, for they reach their largest and brightest just before their death.

This is what the old tree said to the young sapling before it fell.

The Litany

I fear not the raft of styx, messenger of wrath brought quick.
I fear not the battle’s pitch, flood, famine, or pestilence,
Pale osiris, eris, nyx, demon furies, and the succubus.

Give me not nepenthe nor opiates, all they do is enervate.
My will is epic.  Bitterness bestows me gruesome strength.

I fear neither death nor judgement, I fear never having lived:
A small room, a mighty chalice.  The judge who points and says,
I filled your cup to overfloweth.  And all you did was take a sip.

I Have This Tattooed In My Heart.

Laugh out the meager penance of their days
Who dare not share with us the breath released,
The substance drilled and spent beyond repair
For golden, or the shadow of gold hair.

Distinctly praise the years, whose volatile
Blamed bleeding hands extend and thresh the height
The imagination spans beyond despair,
Outpacing bargain, vocable and prayer.

For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen, Hart Crane