(....July20) The Tree Of Experience, Heavy With Fruit

I am heavy
with experiences,
fruits on a tree
whose trunk is thick now.

Each fruit
a memory
to bite into,
some sweet,
some bitter.

But what am I doing,
biting into
this tree of life,
instead of living?

It is because the fruits
feel heavy now,
and when the fruits are heavy,
a time has come for harvest.

I do not know
what sort of harvest.
The fruit feels heavy
and the air feels close,

and the life
I have gathered
around me now
is hard to live.

But of course, this life
is the stuff of future fruit,
sweet or bitter
as I make it.

The mule,
The mule of my own nature,
whom I need
to hoe these rows of living
is on a sit-down strike
and must be dragged
to work each day.

And so,
before the work
begins anew,
I take time out
to seek the pattern
that made the sweet fruit sweet,
and remember how
the mule joined in.

But I find no pattern, really.

Sometimes the joy
just seemed to flow
with scarce a cause,
the mule as eager as the rest
to celebrate the days.

Other times, the mule
would not cooperate,
or else there was no spot
to even stand upon, on Earth,

until the heat of desperation
brought, at long last,
Answers from the depths.

The sea of time and space
would part, and I
would walk through,
a new man.

That’s all I can say.
I have no words of wisdom
beyond, “yes, it can happen.”

That does not mean
it will. The past
is safe, now,

I’ve my stories.
Some are good ones,
even have
a universal application.

But in the Present, the armies
of my weaknesses and strengths
are arrayed
as they have always been,

and I am not
the master of the weaknesses,
or they’d be strengths, as well.

Sometime endurance
is the greatest strength.

by Max Reif

Comments (2)

So perfectly true and expounded by you. Loved this poem laden with the love, largess and lament of living. You're a Maestro of Metaphor. Cy
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