Consider humus, that gift to the garden,
of rot. Layers and layers of life lived
of hurt and healing God knows
and presses down upon, compacting soil
and all matter, factored in to fertilizer
that grows the soul, making a way
for humility in place of arrogance.
Death before life is axiomatic; only
hear what Jesus said: that a grain
of wheat must fall to the ground before
it can ever give life; be gathered, threshed
and ground to flour, to make bread, to be
broken and fed to all for the sake of God,
who is Source of life, of rot, of humus,
that gift to the garden. Consider.
From “The Flower,” by George Herbert
And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain
And relish versing: O, my only Light,
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.
You thought you were doing your best.
Be that as it may, you’re different today
after scores of years of living
in this singular body, this rescued soul.
Dedicate yourself as never before.
Sweep clean the house and prepare it to be
an altar, a table, where God comes down
where the first is last
and the last is best withal.
Everyone is being called
out into their lives, those lives lying
about like Victorian women
suffering from neurasthenia
and learning through their suffering
that they are the shapers of those lives
for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.
All parts of the self wedded, they take the field.
Write into the wound with the ink that heals,
the black blood that marks the place
where poison entered in.
Write into the wound with the ink that heals.