Seed Shell


There are days one awakes to lucidity, but this is often the result of the evils of fortune, as they are classically defined, forcing one into one's best self. Or worst self, but it would be nice not to have to see behaviour that best belongs to presuming youth.
Like so many helicopter seeds, which because of the wind can spin round at the same several-meter-high heights, dizzying, unexpected. Michelangelo thinks of a machine with blades like basswood seeds. It is a memory, it may have been a dream. Inspiration abounds in this world the eyes may be temporarily blinded to; the arrangement takes a new form, the composition of a life may change, and the stagehand removes the old props and brings in new ones. I live on that precipice with this motto engraved in that rock that is my work ethic: docendo discimus教學相長. The seed with wings is no accident in this paragraph, it is the cultivation of leornian, the cultivation of contemplation and reading, with its roots at the sole of the foot, finding and following the track.
Once upon a time, I was far away in a mountain, in a white edifice barely gripping the escarpment. "Why is it," I asked, "that I seem to be forgetting so much of what I knew?" So that it may be returned to you in a new order, was the answer. It is possible to have the answers one is looking for but not know how to find them. Think, self tells self, pretend you are writing an autobiography. What's your forté? Indeed, one may have shirked earlier from those who sing their own laurels, but today it is a survival tactic, rap braggadocio: the civic poet gone, one must sing one's self as did Whitman, performing one's own epideictic oratory of praise, if as internal monologue, when under attack. Yes, one used to know about autobiography, the knowledge returns - in part. The rest is silence. A blank page.
The needs of the present may change the direction of the foot, or its intensity. One may not be sure. One may feel like a bad impression of Švejk: either incompetent or deliberately obfuscatory. Maybe this is a good thing. There are realities where the invisible barbed wire people fear on the internet, mining their information to close them in, exists in the physical quotidian where intrigue whispered in the dark just for the sake of it. This is not an environment conducive to one who is straight forward. Unless one stops looking in that direction of danger. Danger is not like basstree seeds that are beneficial to watch, inspiring one with awe at such tiny things in life, tinier than one's own already tiny, seed-speck, rice writ life.






One remembers again that words exist as medicine for the mind. Harsh words and dull reason never settle anything, says the Chinese proverb. Indeed, for all the ruminating one does, it may be incredible that one's thinking is already geared to self-destruction without so much as a hearing. How, one might ask, might one exit the labyrinth?
I learned from Davenport that the inverse of the labyrinth is the honeycomb. Reality is plastic and awaits the proper interpreter. Disaster, as Tom Matrullo's post on Minos implies, is the punishment dealt by poets to their nation's aggressors. Labyrinth-honeycomb, both sides of the coin of the epideictic; perhaps reality is somewhere in between.
The conch of the labyrinth is formidable to listen to, but Ariadne's love sings through it like the sea - such a different noise than the hot, upwards flight from it of Icarus. The seed shell: in the husk is the sea. It is not the man, but the sea inside the man, bringing the right measure of inspiration to those who nurture hope. The many pericarp wings that sailed over the city yesterday were like banners of the unbelievable but possible. The promise of the good soldier. Only plotters of intrigue need be fully sure of themselves. Socrates wasn't. The teacher isn't.
And the dialogue of the teacher is always an opening out, Gadamer's hermeneutics of something spontaneous and shared. Some steal words and record all the wrong ones. Some gather the best and send them floating above the rooftops to find new and many homes. Surely this model leads from life back to life. Fortune is what falls away like a hull. Character, with its sole of the foot, sets out for maturity. And I just remembered what was in the dark recess of my memory that I want to learn and practice now, if it is not too late. A line from Emerson's "Gifts": "It is better to leave to others the office of punishing him. I can think of many parts I should prefer playing to that of the Furies." It is the of not playing corrector. Some play the clown: the serious often play the corrector. That is where seriousness can get the better of one.
The composition of a life may change; the stagehand removes old props. Seeds fly far above the trees they came from. Only after winter, when Persephone returns from the hell into which she was tricked, do seed vessels cede new life and beginnings. Dangers abound, we can but try to give back to the life that gave us, to erase our ecological footprint of debt by delusion as best we are able.





Pastel brush. Arrow brush.
This seed blew into my window 
as I watched how many hovered
so many storeys high.

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