Inspired by Jo(e)
Dearth and Hope (2/27/89)
On yellowed leaves of ancient lore
I found a tale from long before:
An aged man, who tilled his land
And sowed his seeds with chaffed, bare hands.
—You must believe my word in this;
The manuscripts no more exist:
As ashen forms once touched do fall,
Of what remains, the dust is all.—
The seasons changed, the air grew dry.
His health had waned, his end drew nigh.
His plantings, they were yet undone;
He would not pass 'til there were none.
His hearing failed, his eyesight dimmed;
His beard grew long, no longer trimmed.
But still he waited for the rain;
He would not pass before it came.
He would not plant in arid earth:
For seeds set dry give barren birth.
And yet he sensed his time draw short—
He'd soon depart this earthen port.
The mud from foot of former stream
He scraped with care, as were it cream:
And in his palms transported so
This dampness for his plants to grow.
The moisture spread enough apart
To urge the budding sprouts to start.
Ere all were set he'd not retire,
Lest in his sleep his air expire.
And so prepared to meet his death—
And thus expelled his final breath:
"These plants whom now I know as seed—
Though I'll ne'er see, shall bloom indeed!"
—You must believe his heart in this!
The old man can no more insist:
As forms decayed on touch collapse,
His dust is all we can yet grasp!-