Today I met a rich man. He was packing up his 4WD after a long weekend at the country house, over-looking the ocean, nextdoor. His face was heavy with several decades of Camembert and expensive Shiraz. He seemed embarrassed about his dog. He shook my hand as if he were going for a home run, and scowled at my pajamas.
He’s going to retire, he said. He’s rich now, he has been for ages, and well, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It wears off, doesn’t it, that glow?
I mean, he asked me, what’s needed is just that one thing, isn’t it, at the end of the day – to be, mmmm, content. Yes, to be content, with ocean views, a Weber, marble surfaces and perhaps, a better dog too. To be content, he drifted off….. to maybe live here, in the bush – connect to nature, buy a boat….play golf…. fish…..
he developed a look of such terrible sorrow that I wanted to adopt him. I wanted to say…..
Go to the mountains,
Let them grind you to dust.
Go to the road,
and learn each of her flowers.
Go to the bottom,
have your heart made honest
by that sweet poverty;
patience, solitude, the kindness of strangers.
Go to the suffering places;
the theatres of war
and the suburbs.
Hear the morning birds,
praise the sun in voices, clear with belonging,
while inside their safety boxes,
far from the dew,
the good people writhe in silence,
as a cascade of living bliss
curdles against their Dulux.
Watch the little flowers that unfold in dawnlight,
see how they offer a glittering seed to every dawn
while the women, inside, toss their bedsheets asunder,
strap up their breasts and scowl at their mirrors
for their right to be men.
Smell the eucalypt, lavender, wet soil and sunshine,
stiring up under canopies of quiet leaves
as the men try to forget
how many of their bones
were cracked and shucked and fed to worms
for this empire of endless be-coming.
Feel every thing.
and learn the dignity of that.
Take the difficulty
for the tenderness it provides.
Let all your sorrows sweeten your soul.
Give in to them,
and see what ripeness unfolds
… let it all be worth something.
This falling apart.
.. let the pieces find their proper places
and be still.
There is a paradise we abandon
when we hunt for peace.
Let the bud be ripped open
the petals stripped bare.
Let the robes turn to rags
and the rage into prayer.
Be defeated in all battles.
Be torn at the throat.
Take your will
to the mountains, and have it crushed into seed.
Throw your hope
to the wind, and let the cosmos inspire you.
Tear your heart on true stories of beauty
what radiance awaits those