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Life Arts    H4'ed 5/15/21

Many trees are blossoming followed by a reflection

Author 86636
Message Gary Lindorff
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freshly blooming tree
freshly blooming tree
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Many trees are blossoming

Across the road.

Some of them are white.

Some are a dark shade of pink.

On this side of the road

A small predatory animal

Types a short poem

At a little metal table

Outside a bagel cafe'.

He is thinking about the world of humans.

I am that predatory animal.

I wish I wasn't a predator.

I wish I did not sanction the violence

That has passed for civilization

I wish I was more like a horse

Or a sparrow

Or a blossoming tree.

I wish I would hear a voice saying,

"If you want to renounce violence

Cross the road."

I wish it was that simple,

Hearing a voice like that.

If it was so simple

Then surely

I would cross the road.

But I can't.

I can't hear that voice

And I am afraid.

I don't know what the world would be like

On the other side of the road.

I don't know if anyone else would be there.

But I know that I would not cross back.

Have you ever had such thoughts?



I have a friend who would suggest that the crossing of the road in this poem is death, but I would disagree. I think my quandary about whether to cross to the blossoming trees, that are as close as the other side of the street, is about my struggle with how to authentically live in the Zen mind or the heart-mind. The trouble is, I am not interested in a spiritual practice that separates me from all the suffering in the world. I am not really seeking transcendence at all. In fact, my heart wants me to be more in the world, not less! But I do want to stop sanctioning violence (which is everywhere), to be less tolerant of it in all of its forms, less accepting of it. If I see myself as a peaceful person, which I do, and always have, how then do I sanction violence? How am I "predatory"? By simply paying my taxes I am sanctioning violence, paying for war! By watching and being entertained by violent dramas on TV . . ., even by cutting down a tree without communicating with it first, I am saying I am on friendly terms with the violent (shadow) side of human nature. I may not be broadcasting my violence, but I am a closet predator,(a wolf in sheeps clothing) I support the culture of violence that claims to be civilized (i.e.,"we" are never the terrorists!) but, it is clear that any kind of violence is much closer to serving chaos. If civilization is the process by which a society reaches an advanced stage of social and cultural development and organization, then violence is the undoing of that. It is uncivilized and uncivilizing.

(Article changed on May 15, 2021 at 9:24 AM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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