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Friday, November 12, 2010

In My Time

(Draped Reclining Mother and Baby by Henry Moore,
1898-1986, English sculptor and artist)

“Hope, like love,” wrote the German philosopher Josef Pieper, “is one of the very simple, primordial dispositions of the living person. In hope, man reaches ‘with restless heart’ [in the words of Augustine], with confidence and patient expectation, toward the bonum arduum futurum, toward the arduous ‘not yet’ of fulfillment, whether natural or supernatural.”


It’s easy to praise things present — the belligerent
stance of the woodhouse toad, the total
self-absorption of the frostweed blossom.
It’s simple to compliment a familiar mess
of curly dock, the serene organization
of common onion reeds, the radish bulb
and its slender purple tail. And I like the way
the jay flings dirt furiously this morning
from the window box, the ridiculous shakings
of his black beak.

But it’s not easy to praise things yet-to-come —
the nonexistent nubs of mountains not risen
from beneath the floor of the sea
or a new sound from some new creature,
descended maybe from our golden peepers
and white-chinned chuggers, that sound
becoming synonymous, for someone else,
with spring.

How can I appreciate light from an aging
sun shining through new configurations neither pine
nor ash? How can I extol the nurturing
fragrances from the spires, the spicules
of a landscape not yet formed or seeded?

I can praise these flowers today — the white yucca
with its simmering powder-covered moth, the desert
tahoka daisy and the buffalo gourd — but never
the future strangeness that may eventually
take their places.

From here now, I simply praise in advance
the one who will be there then,
so moved, as I, to do the praising.

~ Pattiann Rogers, born 1940, American poet

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