(The title basically represents the challenge put out by The Gooseberry Garden to write something personal about ourselves)
It's only when I take a moment to look back
I see the land for what it really was
and am surprised:
the mountains hardly ever seemed that high
or at the time were steeper than they look.
The land's a patchwork quilt of this and that,
a nature that as part of it,
too close, I'd overlooked.
There was a randomness that coloured in those squares
or left them bare and challenging -
some background space left plain for me to paint
or sow with a new seed.
Luck mostly came, I found,
at the eleventh hour: I'd just squeeze in
when rational assessment said I'd missed the boat.
It never was the moment that I'd strive for
but the one that had arrived
would drive ambition best for me,
the one that led on to the next.
It was teaching, I believe, that taught me so:
the child who one day will want calculus
today must draw -
his life depends on it.
The spiritual is what you glimpse between the squares,
the stitching holding them in place
and giving them existence with each other.
It's not the images, that you are shown will last forever
(the young Jew on his tree
the Buddha under his),
these are the catalysts restructuring the old solutions
for a newer generation.
For me the beakers filled with poetry.
Years then before I understood that others
(Wallace Stevens is a good example)
had made the same experiment long time before,
arriving at identical conclusions.
On nights you cannot sleep
it's only when you give up trying that you find
the goal achieved.
It's when you hold the moment in your arms
and let go all the comforting controls
that life - the life
that runs the universe -
can take the wheel.
My life began
the day that I got married.
That was resurrection day for me.
The trick is now to make life's end
a small, intrinsic part of all that's gone before.
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