Monday, May 3, 2010

Chapter Five - Part One - Soil Survey

The assumption may always be that we just know what kind of plants will grow in a field, perhaps, because that is what grew there before. However, this kind of thinking leads to all sorts of cultivated disasters in farming and I believe, to use the metaphor, in life. If a field is planted over and over again with the same crop eventually there is a depletion of the nutrients that particular crop needs. The crop that once thrived in a plot of land, now is lack-luster. One can stimulate the soil with added compost and fertilizer. Or one can let it be fallow for a time. But, before one starts planting the crop again, a soil survey must be conducted to see what might actually grow there.

For a writer this survey may indeed be critical. Lately I've been finding the need to write poetry supersedes my desire to write screenplays. Perhaps, this is going back to my roots. It is possible that all my resistance to writing poetry has finally given out. It's funny because in my prior marriage I could hardly write poetry at all. The most I could do was go back and edit some over long poetry from my college days. For the last four and a half years I've written more poetry than I did in the previous 20 years. Yet, I don't know that poetry is a crop that can sustain me as a writer. In fact, I tend to believe that poetry is like one of those alternate crops that feeds the soil by taking different nutrients. I do wonder if I should go ahead and plant the whole field with poetry for a while until I know what I'm going to write about. At least, I know that poems grow here...

Here's a poem I came across when I cleaned up my desk area yesterday:

If Noah hadn't listened to God's insane request
Presumably he would have drowned, as would have all
The two-by-two creatures that were carried within the Ark.
But, we know this isn't true and so we wink.
It takes more than a flood to wipe out life as we know it.
Mother Earth regenerates in spite of floods, freezes, attacks
From outer space, or closer-by explosions and She
Continues to reproduce life, sometimes not as we know it,
From the brink.

In fact, She seems to improve herself with every
Domestic abuse, and when the going gets tough, she grins
With her hands on her ample hips, swinging through space,
In her elliptical sojourn around the sun, singing a
Glorious gospel, "I may be small, and I may be blue,
But just watch me as I overcome this, too." She licks
Her wounds and lets the serpent take her in a sun-warmed
Embrace and new life fills the hills and the valleys
and the oceans deep.

Back to Noah, his awkward relationship with God, and his
"Rescue of life". When Ham, his son of darkness, notices
That Noah is naked and lazing around on the couch
After their rough adventure -- who can blame him -- Ham sees
that Noah, his father, is only a man after all, and not that
special, and he is ashamed. Noah is nothing but a drunk sleeping it off.
Is God embarrassed by his partner in crime being indisposed?
He curses who? Ham, of course, the proud observer of ordinariness,
the ancestor of all slaves.

A notion that has been used to justify slavery throughout
The ages since. Read between the lines and you will discover this:
We are all Ham's prideful descendants, limited to the illusion of
Our own superiority. Enslaved, we fear the dark, and
We hide our true nature with fig leaves, or Togas, or
Coco Channel's little traveling suit with snake-skin shoes
And matching handbags, a snub to the self-knowledge we've misused.
Mother Earth shakes with a mixture of patient laughter and dismay,
Sunning her naked self.

So we've arrived squarely on dry land to be what?
To be slaves to our own misunderstanding and illusions.
Our grim desire to be important and retain a false
dignity in the fields of Mother Earth and her extraordinary
Self is the sickness we've been carrying since before
That flood, and God is in cahoots with Her in showing
Us just how disposable we are over and over again
When we don't respect honest work and rest with equal ease.
God loved that naked, drunk man who listened to the Word
and worked without presumption.

Who knows the meaning of a poem, but God and Mother Earth in cahoots? It's not as easy to digest as a movie, but at the moment I suppose I feel less inclined to be easily digested. I have snippets of visions about what I'm here for and a poem seems to express that so much better right now than struggling to make sense of it all for a larger work. So, as I survey this field I have determined to plant some nurturing poetry for a season (an undetermined amount of time) and see how that goes to feed the larger vision.

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