Friday, September 10, 2010

The Duet

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill-health.
There is no way to escape having ill-health.
I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love
is of the nature to change.
There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
~ Buddha

This afternoon I received a "non-urgent" message from my doctor. As of yesterday's blood tests and my recent complaints, I am now a low level diabetic. Somewhere between last year's look and this year's look I turned a corner and my body failed in yet another area. Growing old is not for sissies.

Getting harsh news somehow fits this poem which just sits next in the normal order of things, the oldest poem in the queue. This poem was written in my pre-diabetic days. The song in the poem seems beautiful though it is part of the flood. This makes me think of the classic Taoist symbol which directly transmits the message there is good still present in the worst of things and nonetheless there is evil in the best. Heat carries its own death within it as do I but the muck brings forth the flower.

The Duet

Amid the rapids
the silver shaped voice sings out
kinder melodies
than those that loosed floods
and forced us into these small
and fragile reed boats.

I shall learn these songs,
sing them in my lower tones,
in harmony with
the higher silver
notes rising out of the floods
as I navigate.

July 15, 2009 12:33 PM

So sing the duet with your own life rather than bewail its fate.


  1. I feel humbled by your post, Christopher, especially given my own grizzling of late.

    An 86 year old woman in my hospital ward earlier this week said to me 'you have to be strong to grow old'.

    I couldn't agree with her more and with your words here and with those of the Buddha. There is good and bad in all things.

    I'm sorry to hear of your latest hurdle. Hopefully you'll manage it as you have managed all others-with good grace and the ability to share it in your writing.
    Thank you.

  2. S.O.B.E.R.

    Son Of a Bitch, Everything's Real

    Getting old is very real. We rust (oxidize) from the inside out. Some of it doesn't hurt, but some of it does.

    Oxidizing is aging and why the natural freaks stress anti-oxidant vitamins and other substances.

    Death is not the enemy, by the way.

  3. I love the wisdom found here. . . the wonderful writing too.

  4. I wish you weren't dealing with this latest health issue, but you are right. It is the natural order of things. Good grace and lots of strength we need.

  5. Susannah, thanks for your visit.

    Karen, sometimes however it is not possible to save your ass and your face at the same time. I reserved the right to snivel when necessary nearly thirty years ago. The kind of strength you refer to is a grant from a power higher than one's own. So is the grace.

  6. The natural order of things, dealing with the inevitable, it’s all so logical, and yet for the most part most of us pretend, until it happens, that we will somehow be spared, or that we’re the lucky ones, or did a few more things right and less things wrong, until it happens to us too. And we’re forced to admit we’re not as special as we thought. The poem is great....

  7. I have not had illusions, not really. I don't want to be nibbled to death is all.

  8. Moving and insightful post, Christopher. So well said! I enjoyed all three parts of the post and wish you the best. "Heat carries its own death within it as do I but the muck brings forth the flower."

  9. Christine, thank you for that. This is not the Big Tent Post but the one after, just in case you didn't know.

  10. Whoa! I just read the first part and whoa! Holy whoa!

    ok, I'll read on.


  11. Perhaps you wrote this duet to yourself all that while ago, a small gift that you should open up on this day that you need it. It says to me that through the beauty and pain there is song. Your boat is fragile but the river - well, who can deny the beauty and force of a river?

    That we try to defy death, that we struggle to remain anticeptic and well packaged/preserved/pickled, it is no favour we do for ourselves, I think. You age well. Not easily, but well. Look at you here sharing with us. Well.


  12. I love you Erin, as if you were kin to me, distant kin, maybe 2nd cousin, which would mean Great Grandfather or Mother in common.

  13. Word verif: forin.

    Poetry seems a foreign language to me most of the time. I'm too gritty and practical for its mysterious song.

    But I got this one. Very beautiful sentiment. Maybe b/c I'm a water person; I like sitting by a fast moving creek and listening to the waves sing over the rocks. Its soothing.

    So was this poem.


  14. You might get some others I wrote then, Donna, thanks for visiting. I wonder, since my blog is so much focussed on poetry, where you came from that you would be here long enough to actually read. There are two poems...another hidden duet.

  15. Cousin Christopher, I laugh. Will you be at Aunt Edith's Thanksgiving dinner? See you there:)

    This is in response to catch the wave as there are no comments there. This is it exactly. It is that we feed one another, inspire, sometimes provoke even. My god, we help one another to think and feel and if we are lucky, understand.


  16. No, sweetie, I won't. I broke from that side of the family a long time ago, or maybe to tell the truth, they broke with black sheep me...LOL

    I don't understand what you mean about Catch The Wave comments. I register nine of them, including one from our friend Ghost Dansing who is on a cometary orbit and only drops by every eighty years or so.

    Yeppers on the way you see our blogs woikin. I claim the creative place is deeper than I can go in me. That's the best part. It gets stirred here too. You guys get deeper inside me than I can go.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

Get Your Own Visitor Map!