The leaves swirl and prance,
moved by the force of the wind;
no will of their own.
Each summer I fight the continued attack
of kudza on the edges of our backyard,
the creep and climb of the intrusive vines,
tendrils of new advances appearing daily.
It is a strong, stubborn invader,
ropy and stringy, it insinuates itself into
the metal grid of the fence, twists around
trunks and branches, reaching for any opening
to infiltrate and establish a hold.
There is a feeling of sententious resistance,
a will opposing my attempts to remove
the encompassing presence from my property.
There are occasional small victories,
a growth perverted, an encroachment stalled.
More often it is a false triumph, the last bit
of growth out of reach, half of a root left
in the ground to grow another day.
I can see it happening, watch the unwelcome
intrusion of the green wisps as they infringe
upon the ability of other plants to freely grow.
Lean in close —
against your better judgement,
of course — listen to the talk
of wild nights,
justifications and temporal promises.
Try to back away —
after all, this is really
beneath you — but linger
wait for the balance
of the tale,
where doubt met pain,
disillusionment begat heartbreak,
and love was never
a variable in the equation.
I sit alone on the deck
with my coffee;
the first Sunday of the year with a cool
breeze and low enough humidity
to enjoy being outside.
I watch a smattering of birds
flit among the trees,
a butterfly or two traverse the yard,
the occasional reluctant sound of a day
beginning drifts through the trees.
I try and focus on the present,
the quiet, the peace,
try and grasp the significance
of a date,
and attempt to resist anger,
hate and worry.
The first tree to have turned is the one
most fully engulfed by the kudzu;
there is significance to this…
Leaves fall by ones and twos,
a slow drift through the quiet
of the morning.
We are in a restaurant, unknown to each other, at adjacent tables, when I take my companion’s hand and bow my head, ask a blessing and give thanks for our meal, speaking low so that only we two can hear. If I were to turn partway through, while you thought my eyes were closed, would I catch you roll your eyes, or perhaps snicker a little, as you brush aside my aside my actions as naive, or quaint, or antiquated? Would you post something about me later, dismissing the fruitless actions of the unknown guy at lunch? What if I chose to participate in the feeding of the poor by being present each time the plate was passed; would you think it foolish to trust a church to do good with my funds? What if I told you in casual conversation that I believed salvation had been granted on a cross, that a covenant had been entered and that any who wished were free to take part? Would you sneer, or argue, or just leave, deeming me dimwitted and unworthy of conversation; would you judge me for my actions and my single, simple belief, all the while claiming none other should be judged for theirs? Would you insist I keep my ideas to myself and out of public view, all the while fighting for all others right of free expression and acceptance.
We have lost a poet, a friend. Viv Blake, known to most as Viv In France, was a regular at many of the online Poetry forums. She was a regular contributor of fine poetry, and a dedicated reader of other poets work. She was one of the first to follow me here, and if I look at my stats page she sits at the top as my most frequent commenters, by a large margin. Always polite, always encouraging, forever finding a positive thing to say, even when it was clear she was less than enthused. She was also my most dedicated proofreader, making sure any mistake I made did not linger and cause me embarrassment.
I did not know her well enough to write anything for her, or about her, but there are pages upon pages in my comments with her name attached. I have created a found poem of her words. The following consists only of comments she has left on my work, and I think there is a kernel of her there. I hope she would find it worthy of stopping by. Goodbye Viv, you will be missed.
In Viv’s Words
I love this one.
This one brought a lump to my throat –
not a word wasted.
A story which is greater than the few words which contain it,
Poignant but beautiful. No regrets,
not a word wasted,
we mustn’t let those memories disappear.
I thank God that there are still books to be read.
I share your despair
at this unfair world.
I can only ask: Where
will it end?
Keep your chin up.
loving and calm,
waiting for warmth, for renaissance,
to start living again.
When the cherry blossom falls in April,
I experience a similar lightening of spirit.
There are enough problems in this life
without spoiling the pleasures with guilt.
So glad I don’t live in a city!
Sad to say, this is profoundly true,
I can’t pretend that I care what happens to my ashes,
but the children assure us that it matters to them.
A sad truth, your last line will stay with me.