Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fifty to Sixty

Poem written for family celebration of my 60th birthday a week ago. Kenneth has been reading Greek poetry and had been critical on the lack of poetic structure in my poetry, which I took as a challenge to try to work on a more formally structured way. The poem is in pentameter, although the individual lines vary between iambic, trochaic and alexandrine (trochaic but with a final foot consisting of a single stressed syllable.

At fifty years, I faced my fear of death:
And found it based on greed, a need to live
Forever, grasping after endlessness.

And so I made a prayer, a thing to say,
Recited as I run, approaching home:
Lady of the Universe, I know not
Where I came from first, before my birth;
I don’t know where I’ll go after my death.
The limits of my knowing are: I come
From nothing, and therefore, to nothing go.

This means, every moment is a gift:
Every day a gift, and every month;
Every year a gift, and all my life.

This prayer weighed my life against the empty
Nothingness of death, dividing every
Separate moment of my life by zero:
Undefined, divine, they shoot toward
Infinity; each one showing, magnified,
In sharp detail, is luminous and glowing.

Since then, ten years have passed, a time of turning:
A broken job, a father’s death, and more:
Children graduate, house then empties out;
A move, across the sea, new place to be,
New work in Scotland next unfolds for me,
New daughter, and granddaughter now arrive,
And illness, brings re-thinking of my life.

Of course in saying something over and over
My prayer of every-day-a-gift evolves,
It does not stay the same; things happen to it:

So other parts appear, to say their piece:

Lady of the Universe, I also know that
All I am comes out of all that’s come
Before me: Galaxies and trilobites,
Etruscans, Galicians, parents, siblings: all.
Likewise, all I’ve been, am now flows out
Through all I’ve known and touched in sixty years,
And does so every moment, day and month:
Children, colleagues, students, grandchildren: all.

And then my mind runs far beyond its common
Orbit, and this image comes to me:

We are all there, in an endless place,
Beyond this life, beyond all dates, we wait;
And with us, people nine hundred years from now,
And from all times, they wait, these ecologues,
Star-dwellers, strange galactic citizens;
Even blue-green algae, waiting for the
Final flare, and all the company of
All conscious creatures, standing, swimming, floating
Assembled in the endless Hall of Being,
Watch in awe as universe completely
Cools, and time exists no more.

-Murray Creek, Aug 2010

1 comment:

Kenneth said...

Nice! I approve.