Is it gain or loss to feel contentment—
no wild surges of emotion,
no bodily electricity,
no need for thrill or wild abandon?
Is this not the time for settling, for thrusting all
those wild venturings back to a safe place
on a back self of memory?
The universe is built on repetition
and change. This last stage, a sinking back into.
Communion with birds and dogs.
A return to the careful watching of childhood.
Of discussions with self as though you were
two people—one listening
as that inner person does all the talking.
Wisdom melding into sleep in the afternoon
in hammocks or on sofas.
Trying to distill wisdom from the flight of birds
or the observed quizzical reasoning of a small dog.
Old age, with one stiff arm I hold you at a distance.
I am studying up for you by reading books and by observation.
By reading myself for long otherwise empty afternoons.
Pinned in a backyard hammock by a small dog and by lethargy,
one foot on the ground, I steer us side to side—
A pendulum sweeping my life away, into corners,
fueled by the hovering of hummingbirds,
the quick flutter of butterflies
from throat to throat of the tabachine.
That seesaw of mind between the inner and the outer
as though practicing for that time when the one will claim me
and I will spiral forward or backward
with that wise knowing, perhaps, at last,
that they are precisely the same thing.
The NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem that was a meditation.