Tao Te Ching 14, falling

I sat in a lovely garden on a white metal bench

dedicated years before

(per a copper marker attached to a nearby Live Oak)

In memory of Barbara and Wayne……..”

(there once was a last name there, too, but it was not readable-

hit perhaps by a passing mower,

or more likely because of all-too-common shoddy workmanship)

I watched the gardeners (illegals? Maybe, but very polite)

tending rows of roses-

Grandiflora, Polyantha, and Centifolia

in carefully intoned shades of mauve, magenta,

and a deep, very pleasant chartreuse,

growing in dark musty mulch and

being pruned now in measured

quiet snip, snip, snips.


An attendant brought glasses of wine-

chosen by a host

(somewhere, where? I turned to see..)-

a lovely red with a dense concentration to the nose

of dark cherry fruit,

Chateau Ste. Michelle? 2004?


At that moment the

crisp white linen of my existence


and the name by which I had come to be known,

and by which I knew myself,

ceased to mean anything.

It meant nothing at all,

and I was not unhappy:

I laughed!

And in celebration I looked directly into the sun

watched it dance

and did not go blind.


In fact, looking away I realized I could

for the very first time


I could see the serrated edges of rose leaves,

and the sensuous bulge of rose hips

both against the rich loam of earth’s bursting forth

toward the sky which had no name

and the chattering of earthmen with hoes and trowels

became the music of the spheres

and their dark cocoa eyes were my windows now

on this world without end

this world without beginning.

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