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December 21, 2014

Planting an Acorn After a Massacre. {Poem}

kai 1

Planting an Acorn After a Massacre

When I heard the news
of the 132 school children massacred,
the taliban suicide bombers in
explosive-lined vests
blowing up the lights of brightened futures,
emptying thousands
of shell casings into the heads of innocents,
I went outside with my grief,
couldn’t hold it indoors,
I walked in circles
and wondered
how the sun
could continue this charade,
how the breeze could decorate
the almost barren trees
with dancing dried skirts,
quivering leaves.
I held the hands of the sky
and whispered unknown names
into the afternoon silence,
as two turkey vultures
cut the blue by
flying infinities overhead.

I walked.
Each step accompanied
by the sound of dried leaves
crunching underfoot,
and fallen acorns shone slick
in the light of the sun,
some dusted with grains of sand
that reflected prismatically
into the tiniest rainbows,
almost invisible.

I picked one up.
It had cracked open,
its red root arm reaching out for earth,
seed sprout seeing possibility,
the process of growth
inherent in its nature.

Without question and without fail
scores of acorns around me
had split open
in these cold months,
split open and started the process of
digging themselves down into the dirt,
the brilliant design that unlocks
wooden hinges and breaks free.

I thought of the children,
their arms reaching toward futures
that they could not see
but could feel,
their brilliant design,
their chubby reddened cheeks,
their laughter,
their learning becoming
scattered schoolbooks
and bomb-blasted classrooms,

they will not become trees,

they will not get past the point
of just barely breaking through,
red blood arms shielding faces
that wonder how this could be the end,
then it is,
was,
blackness,
ending.

The innocents should not die
for a God that does not live by the moral code
that innocents should not die.

I get lost in all this,
the soft breeze,
the blood,
the peaceful valley of my home,
the massacre that touches the same earth floor
dirt on which I stand and gather bursting-open acorns,
juxtaposition of death and life,
my red root fingers dig for the meaning,
for the karmic and cosmic balance,
and all I can do is find a patch of softened moist soil,
a spot that gets good sunlight,
and I shovel a small hole with a jagged flat rock
and lay the
acorn
inside
the hole
with the red root
pointing toward the planet’s core.

“Something small must have a chance,”

I say to myself,
and I cover the acorn with the supple ground.

I encircle the life burial plot
with a mandala of 11 acorn caps,
(you know the little hats that acorns wear)
I make a circle,
because circles are unbroken,
because life should be unbroken,
because something small must have a chance.

I close my eyes,
and let the sun kiss me
until I am warmed inside
with the red of late afternoon,
until I see the mightiest oak tree in my mind,
132 sprawling green limbs
reaching up, up, up,
for
Heaven.

 

 

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Author: Kai Coggin 

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: courtesy of the author 

 

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Kai Coggin