Friday, January 10, 2014

Poetry Friday: Sap Rising or Not

Rachel Barenblat has written a lovely post about staring at the stars with her child and thinking about the passage of the seasons and the larger cycle of time.  She lives in maple syrup country and thinks about sap rising.  She sees a religious connection to her Jewish faith, Tu BiShvat, "The New Year of the Trees. The birthday of the trees. The day when we count trees as a year older than they used to be, even though we no longer tithe their fruits. The day when we believe the sap starts to rise to feed the fertile season to come. Even here, where the ground is rock-solid, impregnated with ice."

She makes a connection to the human life cycle: "We are the trees, growing older year by year. We give ourselves over to trusting that in the fullness of time, our labors will bear fruit. That we will bring forth nourishment for ourselves and those around us. That this world of winter will end, and be replaced by spring's warm breezes -- and summer's clear sunshine -- and autumn's blaze of red and gold -- again and again, and again."

I have been feeling a bit low spiritually lately, like my sap has drained right out of my cells and evaporated into thin air, like the well of sap (or whatever generates human sap) has vanished.  I loved reading her post and remembering the promise of new life that we find across religious faiths.

It put me in mind of a poem of mine, which I'll post below.  It's a good poem for days when I'm feeling arid.

 
Desert Dreams

 
We face midlife with Prufrock.
Midlife, that endless wait for Godot,
who might show up early or not at all.
Existentialism succors only the young.
 
And so, we, too, come to realize
what Eliot knew.  At the last,
liturgy offers a consolation,
Compline a kind of comfort,
with its contrast to the sudden violence
of sunset.  We remember the verses learned
by rote, repeat them to calm
our quaking, media-addled nerves.

Prophetic whispers surface from the sediment
of our days, a muddy
bit from Isaiah or the Psalms,
instructing us to comfort, comfort ye my people.
A voice crying in the wilderness
of our arid hearts, our desert dreams.

2 comments:

rbarenblat said...

Thank you for sharing my post -- and for this poem! I love

At the last,
liturgy offers a consolation

and

Prophetic whispers surface from the sediment
of our days, a muddy
bit from Isaiah or the Psalms,
instructing us to comfort

-- beautiful.

Kristin said...

Thanks so much, Rachel!