Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Leaf

The Leaf

There are some things we do that we regret –
And sadly lack the power to reverse.
But then, perhaps, we learn a lesson and
May even scribe, in penitence, a verse...

While walking underneath a spreading tree,
I paused to reach and pluck a nubile leaf,
So I could hold it close, to better see,
With 'glasses off to aid my aging eyes.

How delicate the veins within that leaf,
How freely flowing, yet how orderly...
How waxed and green, the side that faced the sun,
How diffident and pale, the side beneath...

A “heart-shaped” leaf this was, with mid-rib strong –
And veins like branches angling left and right.
A pointed tip and scalloped edge it had,
This little leaf that was my universe...

If I had crushed that leaf, I would have known
The scent released as life departed it,
With all the wonders of its chemistry
Reduced to that, which simian nostrils sensed.

But I desisted, having just before
Committed torture on a feathered sprig
Of evergreen that I had plucked and crushed,
Inhaling odors redolent of pines.

How far advanced from us, in many ways,
Are plants – along the roads we did not take...
We've more in common with the slugs and mites
And those that crawl until they spin and fly.

How much contrition, for my acts, I felt!
And yet, I'd lunched on animals and plants...
So life, that's grown to feed on life, may yet
Be awed at seeing wondrous mirrored self...

Should I discard that leaf – or let it dry,
While pressed within an aging book of mine,
Itself from limbs of plants composed – and hope
That someone sees – and feels what I have felt?

I beg forgiveness from you, little leaf.
I know your sisters will bud forth, in spring,
When I've departed.  You're the sacrifice
This beast has taken, for his little while.

But as you wither, starved of water, sun,
Can you forgive the one who rudely plucked?
If you could find philosophy, you'd think,
“At least I touched his heart and sensed him smile.”

I shall not 'prison you within a book.
I'll leave you be to die, while breathing free.
So also, when my time has come to leave,
I hope I'm left, so I can cease to be.

2013 May 25th, Sat.

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