The Ancient Modern
A Poem While Gardening / Joshua Alan Sturgill
Beneath the cool of this windy afternoon,
grass and weeds are sleeping, yet further down
half an inch further from the Sun, the soil
dark as the spaces between the stars
embraces hidden stones and hungry roots:
The crumbling and shadowed Source and End.
As I dig away the weeds, this dark is painted
on my bare feet and on the hem of my jeans;
it collects under my fingernails and in the creases
of my hands. I want to mark my face, my life
with this darkness from a night unfallen,
remaining from that First Day Darkness,
when Night was needed for Day to be Good.
A dark made sacred in its distinction from light.
And, here in my soil-stained hand
a lovely oblong tear—a tiny
helianthus seed—waits to be planted,
solid and assured. I look close
and I see an arrowhead, or
a duality resolved—one end
sharp as heat, the other
curved like cool wind.
In this little seed, an entire
solar system of flowers
waits in anticipation.
I do not believe in the Big Bang. But perhaps,
I might believe it in another form:
in a cosmogenesis more akin to germination.
An Origin empty, yet already full of leaves and life:
In the Beginning, a Hand
And in the Hand a Seed.
And the Hand made a cleft
out of Its native Brightness
into the dark of Not-so
and Not-yet. And the Hand
made a covering, a protective
press of Not-far and
Not-alone around the Seed.
And the Hand spoke to the Seed.
And when the Seed heard
its Name called, it awoke
and found it had the power
to lift darkness into the Light.