Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Watering Gate

This very well be the only sestina I ever write, so I thought I'd post it.

- The Watering Gate -

Two people stood atop a distant hill
I saw them as I left today from work
as soon as I had closed the wooden gate
behind me and had drunk a cup of water.
There was no place I really had to go,
and so I took my time. I didn’t run

the way I sometimes do – I often run
as if life were a race. There on that hill,
the silhouetted couple stood. I go
and come the same way every day from work,
taking for granted earth and sun and water.
Familiar things get lost. Sometimes a gate

will make me pause and think; a creaking gate
especially so, and sounds of things that run
like trickling brooks - the peaceful voice of water,
its liquid echo circling down a hill
from clouds that have released their burdensome work,
and like me, found the peace of letting go.

The lie of time says moments come and go
as fast as little lambs run toward a gate
in search of freedom. There is always work
enough to keep us feeling ‘on-the-run’.
The move toward pleasure seems to be up hill,
against the laws that govern moving water.

But nothing is alive where there’s no water
that’s stirring. Living things must ebb and go.
Stagnation lies beneath a silent hill
of graves - behind the locking of a gate
of wrought iron coldness. Living things must run.
An idle body has no means to work

to keep the spirit flowing. Life needs work –
and workers need a living well of water
to keep the heart from fainting as they run.
Recycling is the only way to go.
Our life’s a circle and each of us a gate
that God has set upon his lovely hill.

I bike to work near waterfalls that run.
They’re brisk and full of life and through the gate
I drink the sun-rise lilting on the hill.

1 comment:

shunammite said...

I had to look up "sestina" - I see you followed the rules! I didn't understand until very lately that "rules" can actually help art - child of the let it all hang out sixties here - but FREEDOM is not the whole story - some freedom needed, some "slavery" too.