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The Seven of Pentacles

Marge Piercy wrote of the time it takes to create what is good in life. In a fast-paced, hectic world, it is nice to view life as an ecosystem. Good things in life, those things I cherish, were nurtured and took time to appear. They depend upon many things to grow.

In the rich ecosystem, there is mystery and wonder. I ask, “What happened” and expect no definitive answers. I grow to accept it is good and healthy there are no answers and questions lead me forward, slowly and gently into the newness of each moment.

I took the picture at the farm earlier this spring. The tree in the centre is a woodpecker’s roost and, when I look, I see holes in the tree. A trail wanders through the underbrush. I ask who or what else uses the path? Who or what else lives close by? What are the connections? The lifeless tree sustains the ecosystem. Everything is important. I only have to let it be so. When I slow down, questions emerge and sometimes answers, but only occasionally.

Under a sky the color of pea soup

she is looking at her work growing away there

actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans

as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.

If you tend to them properly, if you mulch, if you water,

if you provide birds that eat the insects a home and winter food,

if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,

if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and bees,

then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly. sometimes they grow underground.

You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.

More than a half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.

Penetrate quietly as the earthworms that blows no trumpet.

Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.

Spread like squash plant that overruns the garden.

Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.

Live a life you can endure: make love that is loving.

Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,

a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us

interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:

reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.

This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,

for every gardener knows that after the digging, after

the planting,

after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Summer 2013


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

14 responses »

  1. Every space has a mystery tree that draws the eye and raises questions upon its hidden mysteries.

  2. that line about the tree and its roots–sometimes even more than half of its mass is underground…makes you wonder what branches are hidden within us.

    I saw a real cool Through the Wormhole the other night; Morgan was talking about branches and how the pattern pervades nature as a natural system of connection. Even the channels basketball players create while playing are branchlike–not to mention our veins, and neurotransmitters—lakes…rivers…oceans…the veining in a leaf…

    a tangible connection to ponder metaphysically..

    thank you for stopping by. your visits always mean a lot.

    • Thank you for a wonderful comment and for stopping by as well. I used to read an article with students and one of the pictures of the blood vessels in the human body always brought up that comparison.

  3. There used to be a woodpecker tree at the end of our drive when I was a boy in Iowa. It was dead and filled with large yellow-green grubs and other slimy and slithery things. It was an ugly tree, but there were so many things to examine and ponder over. You say, “Live as if you like yourself, and it may happen”. It is a profound truth. I remember how much I used to feel that I was like the woodpecker tree, filled with things to make you shudder and things that were ugly on the surface, but underneath filled with life and complexity and wondrous things that kept Woody Woodpecker well fed. (Sorry about that. I have lots of cartooney thoughts.)

  4. Beautiful. Poem that is full of soul and wisdom.

  5. “..Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:

    reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in…”

    Love these lines. Live as if you liked yourself – just points out how much self hate is passed on from generation to generation. How a low self esteem is cultivated over just accepting ourselves for who we are! All the adds, movies, fashion shows, magazines….just sad.

  6. I think I’ve got everything Marge Piercy ever wrote in my library. Love her work. Thanks for the post!


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