portrait of persistence (2)

A seed, a tiny vessel of possibility,
falls into Earth’s womb
and (no science truly comprehending
or how)
dying to itself,
feeding upon itself,
converting its own rich foodstore into energy,
thirsting for water,
sends forth roots,
stretching farther, still farther
for more water;
then, hungering for light
in photosynthetic might
presses onward,
pushes upward –
e’en hard-graveled ground unable to halt its trek –
a verdant shoot
breaking the soil
to bask in the Sun.

This, a natural
for all great strivers
who, in aiming for the stars,
aye, attempting any grand venture
manifold failure
’til, finally, the work is done,
the prize won;
which ne’er is an ending,
only a new beginning
before the next new beginning
of all new beginnings to come
’til life is done.


Photograph, May 13, 2018): Driveway, Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens, Spartanburg, SC





3 thoughts on “Persistence

  1. Oh, Paul. How lovely. Both the poem and the photo of that little seedling striving through the gravel. I smile when I ask myself what the fate of that little plant is going to be now that it is the living embodiment of your beautiful poem. You might have to construct a little wall around it in the driveway so that cars know not to run over it. 🙂

    I think your poem goes on even after its ending; it simply starts again, right? There are so many ordinary miracles that we simply are not in touch with or take for granted. (I was just reading two articles today that posit possibilities that made me shake my head in wonder: 1) that there may be a ninth [for those of use who still believe in Pluto, it would be the tenth, I guess] planet in our solar system in a strange tilted orbit that has hidden it from us all these eons; and 2) that octopi may be an alien species that came to earth on frozen asteroids.) Who knows whether either is true, but the possibilities stimulate the imagination.

    Creation, and most especially life, is so wondrous, so unstoppable, so faithful, such an amazing teacher. I am so glad that all of Creation and life still astonish us with surprises as simple as a little seedling where we wouldn’t have expected it or creatures so strange and exotic that we keep searching for explanations of their origins. And I am so glad that there are people who notice and write poems about such things and draw parallels with our own experience as humans on this dear, fragile blue dot.

    Thank you for this afternoon respite from the ordinary that calls me to notice, pause, and praise the extraordinary, whether it turns up in driveways, in the sea, in the heavens, or in exceptionally perceptive dear friends.




  2. Paul,
    This poem for me is all about LIFE…. about how life starts and then flourishes with light and water and support. There’s much failure in life and as you pointed out, because we shoot for the stars, andeven if we don’t make it… we get up, and start again having obtained new life from our light and water… I love the fact that this occurs over and over until life is done. Persistence is everything in my life… hanging in there until you can’t anymore…. Finding new life in new faith, and friends that allows us to grow once again even if we believed prematurely that our life was over. For me, this poem is not only about persistence, it’s living in the light even at the times we want to fade into the darkness.
    I agree with Karen, this is a VERY NICE detour on this dreary and rainy DC day. It reminds me that days of rain in fact brings new life to things we see every day, and the things that grow even without being seen.

    Much love!


  3. Ah, my dear sisters, always I appreciate you and your reflections…

    Karen, I have thought about protecting this plant. Every time I walk down the driveway, daily several times, I look at it, marveling at its continued growth and wondering how long it will last. For a plant being a plant, eventually I believe it will wilt and die. I suppose for the reason of that understanding, I have chosen not to protect it, thus, to allow, proverbially speaking, nature to take and run its course. In this awareness, I am trusting that this plant – a la the Pauline concept of Jesus raised from the dead being “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” – is a first fruit, a sign of what God, what nature always is doing: raising from the dead new life, in this case, I’m subsequently arising new plants.

    And, Karen and Loretta, I am happy beyond the telling that this little poem brought some gladness to your hearts, some release and refreshment from life’s daily rigors, some reminder of the grand things that always are happening near to us and calling us to pay heed and rejoice.

    Much love


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