Monday, May 31, 2010

Make It New

This was a maxim of Ezra Pound, the poet.

“He meant this as a push toward the creative, a push away from what’s known, accepted, expected. To fall into grooves already well worn may be comfortable, but it’s hard to rise over the edge of what you’ve fallen into. To poets, he was admonishing them to abandon the old forms and rhymes, to find their voices in something fresh. As a life philosophy, make it new challenges the day.”

 Frances Mayes, Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life (2010), p. 289.

“Light again, and the one who brings light!
Change the way you live!

“…

“Draw back the door bolt.
One level flows into another.
Heat seeps into everything.
The passionate pots boil.
Clothing tears into the air.
Poets fume shreds of steam,
Never so happy as out in the light!”

- Rumi -- Shreds of Steam

The last two days, I was a gardener, a reaper of grass grown wild and long, a raker of piles of sodden clumps of new clippings, and old clippings turned brown. I was the builder of a compost pile, a trimmer of laurel, a planter of baby rhododendrons. I was the master of the weed eater, firing it up for the first time this year, to discover flowers and shrubs nearly buried in the lush green jungle of this wet spring. I was the spreader of fertilizer, and the sprayer of weeds growing in gravel and around the grapes and apples, their tender leaves gracefully unfolding.

And, I was also the photographer and the painter, taking in the strengthening light of the last of May, feeling the sun’s warmth on my face and arms, seeing how the light played in the fresh new leaves of the trees and shrubs. I caught the light on the swallows as they darted and strafed our cat on the deck, watching the prisms of purple, blue, and black on their tails in the afternoon sun.

And, I was the poet, experiencing the new life springing up, in the ways growing things do in spring, every year, in Time’s endless circle. And, as I planted and mowed, and trimmed, and dreamed, the rhythm of the day became mine to savor, and mine to remember.

--Neal Lemery, May, 2010

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