Friday, March 18, 2016

The First Gentleman ★★★★

Of the four gentlemen
I was introduced first to bamboo
Watched the length of it rise from his motions
His hands thick around the handle
As the white drank in the blackness

Later he brought me to a garden
Some place I've lost to memory
And showed me the small copse
That some unknown hands had kept
He brought home some fallen stalks
And with me made a walking cane

I marveled that a thing so thin
Could so easily hold me

Those narrow poles
With their thin green leaves like sparrow wings
Are to certain people in places I've never been 
A symbol of summer
Of willpower tempered with flexibility
A symbol of virility and life

And I try to remember him as strong
As powerful and kind
Not as the sadness and the sense of being lost
That worried down his hill like shoulders
And has come to slip into my own life
Like echoes written in blood and kin

And not as it was in the end
As so much weight slipping through me
Without a way for me to hold it back
Without a way to bear the weight
With only old drawings
And hollow sticks