Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Life is simplest on the days
When life gets complicated.
There's not much philosophy
Applicable to big trucks,
Loading docks, and tight schedules.
Country music is better 
Than Zen for this sort of thing.

Or maybe not. Assuming
Even Zen masters get stuck
Dealing with the mechanics
Of buying, hauling, and building
Mountains of monastic stuff,
A relaxed, alert focus
Might grant hectic satori.

Crates of old stuff, crates of new,
The ant-hill as memory
Of ant-actions, the midden
As extended phenotype,
The shell the tortoise
Labors to build and carry,
In order to feel secure.

It's not a human problem,
Everything that lives gathers,
Processes, incorporates,
Sheds, and regathers to live.
How do we get what we crave?
How do we get rid of it
Before it suffocates us?

Life's leftover junk riddles
The whole crust of the planet,
Rusty layers testify
To the age when oxygen
Itself was cumulative waste,
Limestone mountains, heaps of shells,
Carved up for human mansions,

Once piled on disregarded
Shelves of overstocked oceans.
So on. Whatever happens
To me and all my boxes
After today's adventures,
Leftovers will outlast me,
Others will sift my remains,

Be they people, wolves, or ants,
And mighty microbia,
Earth's first movers and shakers,
Tend all gardens in the end.
Peace and struggle, all the same.
I won't try to reason why.
Stuff is just to move or die.

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