9 July 2009
The old man sought stillness in the morning.
standing beside the rose bush, watching bees,
counting thorns, tracing the motions of leaves.
It is not always easy to find stillness,
and the old one learned to cherish every find.
The young man had no thoughts of stillness.
He observed the old one with annoyance,
sunlight on forehead, discomfort of being,
anger at seeing the old man still alive.
It is not easy to still be alive.
He called out the old man, challenged him.
The old one turned away from the bees,
the roses, the leaves, the pebbles on the ground.
Seasons come and go with the clouds and rains,
the old man thought as he watched the chest heave,
the heat rising from the young man's brow.
Young men come and young men go.
Time is an endless season.
And humanity is always struggling against time:
the erosion, the crumbling walls, the faded paint,
the lines etched in a face once smooth.
The young man moved aggressively,
telling the old man to bow down.
"Give me your money, old man," he said.
Honor my youth, my vigor, my fists.
The moment is overdetermined.
The past is a chimera, the future a dream.
The old teacher had time to wait.
He had waited many times in his life.
All movements are overdetermined,
yet some things are predictable,
like rain when the dark clouds are swollen
and you smell moisture in the air.
The young man was eager, angry, impatient.
He moved forward, grabbing for the old man,
who moved like air, brushing the young man's arm
sending him stumbling into the rose bushes.
The thorns caught the young man:
pricking his skin, puncturing one eye:
The youth screamed, clutching the eye.
The old master felt sadness at the sight,
a broken rose bush, a lost eye, lost stillness.
He had seen sights like this before,
and it always made him sad.
He watched a moment more, then walked away.
© 2009, Satya J. Gabriel