Breathe, Bonsai

Pure life unmarred
Yearning toward earth and sky
On a course within thee planned
‘Til comes Gardn’er’s “improving” hand
To guide with clip and tie
Thy growth from nature far

Twisted, pruned to graceful skew
To please an outward eye
As thou toward its alien beauty grew
Each clipped piece fell to die

Each piece thought extra, swept away
‘pon rubbish heap to wither, fast forgot
Does thy true beauty ever more betray
While gard’ner looks on, smiles
and knows not

Oh brother, would that I were more like thee
And knew the secret thou must surely know
To shade thyself in wisdom’s alchemy
To bend each new distortion to thy flow
To accept each snip unflinchingly
To purely live thy creed of “Grow! Just Grow!”

But I, a man, am made a different way
To feel each time the clippers slice my flesh
To pine my lost and waylaid self’s true shape
And feel my own in every clipping’s death

What choices for a man in such a state?
Lie back, go numb, become the clippers’ prey?
Fill himself with rancid, bubbling hate?
Flee only to be clipped in some new way?
Or to become a tiger on a leash
and watch for chance to rend the cutting arm
Then, lips blood-flecked, reclaim his wild gait
Gloriously remorseless of all harm?

These the ways of animals and fools
For while men or weather force my boughs to bend
I’m yet subject to their fickle tyranny
While on their mercy, happiness depends
‘Tis delusion to count myself as free
So let me breathe beyond all pruner’s tools
For shears can touch not I-Am’s boundless tree.
Breathe in breathe out, and breathing thus transcend
Exploding as raw serpent energy


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