I’ve spent much of the last few weeks with thoughts on the edge of my brain, but not quite coming forward – thinking at times that my own mental well of ideas had gone dry. Then last week, I had a friend share this poem with me; and, I decided to let those ideas continue to stir, to peek out from just behind my conscious self, until they are ready to come forward.
I’ve also got a number of friends who are having a tough time lately, buried under the weight of too many expectations and too little resources to meet those expectations. It’s often as if everyone is kind of stumbling around trying to get our bearings on an ever-shifting ground. Before I run into the land of too-many-metaphors, I’ll just step away, and let the poem be what it is. Besides, the poet, Marge Piercy, says it all much finer than I could.
The Seven Of Pentacles, Marge Piercy
Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.