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 Page: Profile: Poetry   Total Views: 16,606,359  

Poem Specs

VxPoem ID: 43122


Posted: November 1st. 2012 2:05:00 PM

Views: 1144

Wu Xing

by Radko Vacek

Age Group: Adult

The destructive cycle, as we see it, goes,
Fire burns wood, wood absorbs water,
Water rusts metal, metal breaks earth,
Earth smothers fire. The destructive person
Uses fire to burn the woods nearby,
And then uses the metallic blade of a plow,
Bit by bit, to flay the skin of Mother Earth.

The creative cycle, the reverse way, goes,
Fire makes earth, earth bears metal,
Metal collects water, water nourishes wood,
Wood feeds fire. The creative person
Sits by the hearth at the end of the day,
And feeds the fire with split wood.
While sipping water from a metallic cup,
This person wonders at how the ashes
Restore earth, and how earth gives metal.

The controlling cycle, the circumscribed pentagram
Of arrows directed as the creative cycle, goes,
Fire melts metal, metal splits wood,
Wood breaks earth, earth absorbs water,
Water douses fire. The young adult in control,
Intelligent but not yet wise, melts metal,
Speedily bending it into the shape of a cup,
But also driving it into the shape of the plow's blade.
This person wins the rewards of society,
Both the destructive and the creative members.

The mature adult in control, wiser through having lived long,
Is in the balance of giving and taking before the trees.
Not tensing muscles to clear the woods, the sage relaxes,
Dreaming of letting feet and toes down into the earth
Like roots and rootlets, and looks again to see
The tree in a new light, from a revised point of view.
Out of the wisdom coming with experience,
The ego, as solid as the rock of a wall dividing
The self from not the self, is dissolved, as if in
A primeval soup. Thus is restored empathic unity
With the tree and the universe,
In the spirit of mature responsibility.

Author's Location: Toledo, Ohio
More Poems: Radko Vacek has posted 831 additional poems- View them?
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