poetry

Let Nature Be. {poetry}

 

Rumi says that where you stumble is where you dig for gold. I didn’t so much stumble as splatter.

I fell with great weight, and when I hit the ground, somehow I kept falling.

I scrambled around, spitting loose teeth and dirt, and I thought, “Oh, Rumi.”

I started to write. I wrote in messy swirls of ink and tap-tap-tap on to the blue screen in the dark night. I could not stop writing, and I wondered if this was the gold. This sudden and urgent need to write which had not visited me since I was a performance poet and a drunk. All those years ago.

I wrote out the mess. I could not show anyone the depth of it. So I soaked the paper in water and watched the ink bleed. My mess making a mess, and I thought, “Oh, Bell.”

When I wasn’t writing, I was running. My body, which has always been an indoor cat, thick with affection and cream, suddenly wanted to feel the hunger and hunt of the wild cats.

I ran into the dawn and the rhythm section of my brain stepped back. A pure unhurried note of breath fell in to the space. My footfalls a percussive hard bop. As soon as I stopped running, the rhythm section stopped tapping their toes and came back in to my mind with a great blast of noise.

All of the noise. It was too noisy to sleep and I tumbled around like a sweater in a laundromat. No matter how long I spun, you could still wring out buckets of emotion from me. I was half way through the 4th decade of my life. A predictable crisis. I didn’t know what I wanted, and the moments I did know, it was worse.

The things I wanted were strange shapes, I couldn’t fit into them, so I wrote and I ran and I tumbled.

I paid a lady in purple to test my muscles for answers. She had great kindness etched into her face. I surrendered to her, but I still could not find the gold. The madness was starting to feel normal, but I missed the girl I was. She was happy in an uncomplicated way and she beamed. All she ever wanted was adventure, salt water, good coffee, pure love. I loved her, and I missed her while I hunted for the gold.

Somewhere I found it. This restless drive forward brought some unexpected things. I began to mold to the strange shapes. I asked my darling to do the same thing. All my restlessness was making him restless and so, to my delight, he agreed. I suddenly had my answer. The gold is the search, it’s the drive, and it is the hunger. The gold is the desire to grow.

Now I write and I run, and though my sleep is no slumber, I do not tumble quite so much. There is a new momentum in me, but it has a direction, and this has bought me a strange sort of peace.

I found my gold where I fell. It was me, inviting myself to roam and seek, inviting myself to dance, to breathe, to be. I found my gold and it was me.

***

Let Nature Be

Let nature be the wisdom you seek
She will ask nothing from you
But if you sink into the dust
she will reveal things in the stillness

Let the desolate cry of a butcher bird
split your dreams and bring you to the day
such a small plain bird
claiming his trees
with heartbreaking song

Let the morning light
carve out the weight from your bones
When you feel weary, remember
your people are safe, your country has peace
You do not know weariness
You must never forget this.

Life asks for nothing more
than your attendance, your attention
yet you rat-worry your little nest
fussing, always fussing
while moons rise and suns sink

I cannot ask you more plainly
to stop, to breathe, to be
Let this be the lesson you take
from the dust, from the stillness, from the bird
Open your eyes to the beauty
Breathe with it
There is nothing more
There never was.

***

Bell Harding is a Rumi-loving painter, late bloomer, and poet from Australia. Her home is a vintage caravan called Lou Lou, which likes to roam and is currently resting in a small coastal town in the Northwest. Bell has a degree in fine art, and loves to paint barefoot in the dirt. She seeks the beauty and adventure in raw untamed landscape, preferring the edges of the continent and avoiding winter. Bell loves to paint, cook plant-based food, and write pretty poems with sharp little teeth. At 44, Bell is still wondering what she wants to be when she grows up. Until that time, she roams, paints and writes. Bell believes that seeking out beauty and adventure is a fine substitute for a career plan.

***

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