The grass does not refuse
To flourish in the spring wind;
The leaves are not angry
At falling through the autumn sky.
Who with whip or spur
Can urge the feet of Time?
The things of the world flourish and decay,
Each at its own hour. ~LiPo

Trans: Arthur Waley, The Poet Li Po II. 26. The Sun Gutenberg.org

Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/80s 150mm 100 ISO

“The old man was thin and gaunt with deep wrinkles in the back of his neck. The brown blotches of the benevolent skin cancer the sun brings from its reflections on the tropic sea were on his cheeks. The blotches ran well down the sides of his face and his hands had the deep crease scars from handling heavy fish on the cords. But none of these scars were fresh. They were as old as erosions in a fishless desert.” ~Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

While watching 

the long rains falling on this world

my heart, too, fades

with the unseen color

of the spring flowers.

~Ono no Komachi (J Hirshfield & M Aratani, The Ink Dark Moon)

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Don’t dye it, don’t pull it out,
let it grow all over your head.
No medicine can stop the whiteness,
the blackness won’t last out the fall.
Lay your head on a quiet pillow, hear the cicadas,
idly incline it to watch the waters flow.
The reason we can’t rise to this broader view of life
is because, white hair, you grieve us so!

~Ch’i-chi (864-937)      Translation: Burton Watson

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Nikon D750     f/7.1    1/320    44mm    100 ISO   (neutral density lens)

Clipped Wings

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How did it come to this?

A forced landing, weakened wings

a solid source of former strength,

taking you through 

dark clouds and heavy downpours.

 

Those resilient wings assured your

bodily independence

as you soared through storms,

high winds battering

and pressing upon your life.

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Now those same weathered wings

bear evidence of missing feathers,

thinning bones and shrunken wingspan,

no longer able to lift and sour

or glide with the gusto that carried

you through turbulent tempests.

 

Slowly, slowly you learn to accept

those clipped wings, to be content

with nesting in the arms of elderhood.

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You submit to this final appendage

of your journey, bid farewell

to cherished autonomy

and slowly fold your worn wings

in peaceful surrender.

                                                        ~Joyce Rupp*

 

*cited:

Fly While You Still Have Wings

Joyce Rupp