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Nature. Human

by Zettel 

Posted: 19 August 2019
Word Count: 151
Summary: Inspired by the film on current release: Five Seasons: the Gardens of Piet Oudolf

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Nature. Human

This tree will stay, these plants return
The sun and rain will sustain
But my presence now shall then absence be
My passing traced within another brain
And there my absence another mind shall see

Round and round the seasons turn
Winter Spring Summer Fall
My painted pony seats another now
My time to ride no time at all
The quiet voice of why drowned by when and how

The true worth of life is in how we live 
Not in what we think we live it for
all lives end in the same way
we can only choose what to explore
But not prolong the search a single day

 Like the wind our spirits restless fly
While Nature Trees and plants abide
Through love we seek a way to be
To find and share the beauty of the ride
To give to take to deserve to be free

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:45 on 20 August 2019  Report this post
Hello Zettel – I will quote this first because it’s so striking:
My painted pony seats another now
The carousel image is even stronger because it follows from ‘Round and round the seasons turn/ Winter Spring Summer Fall’. Thus we see that the seasons are like a carousel, a idea which would not occur to us without the ‘painted pony’ image. Excellent.
I don’t quite understand
My passing traced within another brain
And there my absence another mind shall see
Maybe I’m being too literal, but I thought ‘another mind’ would have to be that of someone who knew and remembered you, not a stranger. Perhaps that’s what you mean. Reading this, we should assume it is a family member or friend; it’s perhaps reasonable to expect an intelligent reader to do so.
The last stanza returns to the theme of the first, something poets often do and something that can help to give the poem form. The trees are there, and so is the carousel, in ‘the beauty of the ride’. Then you add your conclusion:
Through love we seek a way to be
To find and share the beauty of the ride
To give to take to deserve to be free
Like many of your broad observations about life, I can only say I find it to be true. What reasonable person wouldn’t? So it’s a good way to finish.
Stanza 4 seems just too abstract, and this is my main criticism. What it says is true nevertheless, but in poetry I would say that such sentiments are usually best communicated by means of either imagery or illustration. Something concrete. If you were to sacrifice two lines, maybe 3 and 4, even just line 3, you might give a brief example of  ‘what we think we live it for’. This illustration would immediately follow the line just quoted. I’m sure you don’t need me to come up with suggestions. Something like that would bring the stanza more to life. Poetry needs the concrete.
This is good work though. On the whole, I like this poem – the concept of it.

Zettel at 00:11 on 21 August 2019  Report this post
Thanks James. On your first point I meant it to be the same person and as you say a close family member. I guesss it's a  philosophical distinction but our perceptions create traces in the brain but it is the person, not the brain that 'sees' in both the perceptual and the cognitive senses of 'see' and for this deeper combination of both we would would talk of the mind not 'just' the brain.. This same distinction underlies I think the  peceptual, visual richness of the plants and trees of Oudolf's creations and our appreciation of the thought and creativity that informs them which respects the natural 'wildness' and form of different plants but plans and designs a garden that looks and feels as if it has simply arisen spontaneously in Nature but has configurations that one would not actually find juxtaposed in the same way in a 'natural' setting.

I take your point about the poetic weakness of the abstractions in stanza 3: but conceptually there is a close link between these ideas, albeit abstract, and the theme of the rest of the poem: that between the universal, implacable 'boundaries' of birth and death it is how we choose to live our lives; the means we respect not the ends we pursue in life that constitutes its true worth. We cannot will the world to change we can only act upon it and the means we regard as acceptable will always be as important as the ends pursued. I will think about a more concrete way of expressing this as I agree with your point; but however perhaps vague and even misguided in poetic terms, I have always been tempted to try to find some poetic resonance in abstract ideas as I find this a fascinating quality within especially Wittenstein's writings on Philosophy. He said "one should write philosophy as one writes a poem". It may be that you are right that in stanza 3 I have done the opposite - written a poem as one wrotes Philosophy.  A difficult thing to rectify but I thank you for the observatin and I will give it some thought.



James Graham at 21:02 on 23 August 2019  Report this post
I have always been tempted to try to find some poetic resonance in abstract ideas
I take this point. Since your stanzas are uniform in length, it wouldn’t be possible to add some concrete illustration without sacrificing at least one line which you don’t want to sacrifice, better leave it as it is. Your comment as a whole is interesting, and shows some of the kind of thought that has gone into the making of this poem.


Zettel at 23:05 on 23 August 2019  Report this post
Thanks James



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