Saturday, July 23, 2011

Conversation with A Poem Tree

I was untangling a ribbon that held a poem to the Poem Tree on Passyunk, feeling a little sad... when she asked me what I thought I was doing.

--Why, grooming you, Poem Tree! I said.

--But why, she said. & why are you wearing can tabs? And putting can tabs on me. Don't you know that I'm a tree & I dress myself in leaves?

--But you are dead, little Poem Tree, and your leaves are brown & brittle, though it's still summer, and you will never grow leaves again... and because it gives me pleasure, I said. Because it gives me pleasure

--Yes but, why? What is the Message? What does it MEAN?

--Isn't pleasure message enough?

--No, she said What else is it that you want, that makes you do this? Be honest! I'm not one of your kind--you can't lie to me. You can't hide what lies in your hidden heart. You know well enough how this makes you look.

--Like what? I said.

--Oh come on, you know perfectly well what I mean. You don't do this JUST for pleasure. Why do you want to look... I don't know, weird? (and this across the street from dozens of young multi-tatooed and pierced hipsters at Los Caballitos). So tell me now, what message do you think this gives to other people?

--I don't have any way of knowing that, do I? Until they stop & talk with me.

--But isn't there something you would WANT them to think? she said.Want them to know about you?

--Okay, I said... Okay... I give up! (thinking I'd make something up to make her happy) ...that they don't OWN me, how does that sound?

--Sounds good, she said. Go on.

-- & the bankers don't OWN me, & the people who tell others what to do & what NOT to do, THEY don't OWN me (& to tell the truth, I was beginning to feel better, saying this. Like something was there that had wanted out... ) & that NOBODY OWNS anyone ... or any Thing. That ALL the TOTALIZING systems--be they Capitalism or rigid Marxism or any religion whatsoever--are CHAINS of OWNING...

--Yes, she said. And what is it then that you want?

--I want to live like the things I find! I said ... Found Things lost, and Found but no longer OWNED. Growing old, you know... I feel like that myself...that I've been losing myself little by little, and I pick up can tabs & gifts people give me because what they see gives THEM pleasure, and little by little, diminished by age, as I grow smaller and weaker as by nature I must... that when I become nothing, and you & I have lost all our leaves & our limbs are naked & dry as bones... that there will be nothing lost... because I will be just another Found Thing... and Found Things cannot be lost...

& Poem Tree grew quiet, but for the soft rustling of the ribbons & poems dangling from her branches. & I thanked her, for helping me to better understand... as she always does. & she seemed happy too... cause she knows I love her. 

1 comment:

  1. She's so fortunate to be the recipient of your love.

    The bunnies or deer or both FOUND my garden last night. So I'm forced to share the green beans and sweet potatoes with them. Reading you just now made me feel a little, just a little, better about that. Lot of ways to love each other.