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The Transitory Nature of Life

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

My son Joseph mentioned that in Japan, where he lives, ceramics are worth a great deal more if they are broken and then mended with gold filling. That led to me writing some lines in a Blues, as follows:

Yet the greatest thing I have to share

Is that love’s like china and oft needs repair

But if you mend each crack with melted gol

Its beauty increases for all to behold

Its beauty increases for all to behold

(Cracked China Blues)

At the heart of this is a reverence for how the transitory nature of life can be held up momentarily for inspection, while accepting the inevitable order of things.

I have been unlocking poems I wrote thirty or so years ago, refreshing and sprucing them up to meet the demands of my older eye. They deal with the same subject, though in a more direct. challenging way.


We make a mark in sand or snow to watch the tide 

Or sun erase our passing tracks

We press a finger on another’s cheek

To see the soft-red imprint, dull then fade

We lie upon the hothouse summer corn

To watch the stalks rebound upon our love

We sit upon the dry stone of a grave

And dampen it with thoughts of what will be


Four events emerge 

Ghostly through the driving

Winter snow

A rabbit bobbling slow

With myxomatosis

Feeling blindly down a furrow

A dove dancing along a fence

Cooing, impotent, in the gale

A crow blunt-beaking frozen flesh

On a tree-hung corpse’s bone

Three acts

In play on nature’s stage 


By a fourth, 

An invisible trudging man 


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