The Tragedy and Ecstasy of Decomposing Life: Late Summer, Fifteen Years Later

September 11, 2016

Quantum Identity IV: The Tragedy and Ecstasy of Decomposing Life

Click here to see more about the artwork that corresponds with this poem.

There is something beautiful

Even in the way

Mosquitos form

A living mist

Above the waterpools

In morning

In the way venom flows through a tooth

In the way a living thing rots

In the daily work of termites

In the sharp curve of a thorn

In the tenuous balance between hunter and prey

At the moment a body goes cold

And light blinks out one last time

From a living thing's eyes

There it is

Something sacred

Something precious, and yes, even lovely

If there is beauty

In the middle of the curse

Of what is called the fallen world

Then I will search

To find beauty

Right here

In the middle of my pain

So that I can know that surely

Nothing is total loss

If I can find the treasure

Buried deep within


This is the way of resilience

This is the way

I build myself up

Even as I fall apart 


Late summer


Means the million tones of brown

Have yielded to green

As grasses and spiny things


Exuberate in their sprint of growing


To feed the coming riot

Of seeds

That they will scatter

With abandon

Just then

As the weather turns

And everyone thinks of death


Once autumn comes

The browning grasses

People think are done

March forth in stiff quietness

Using the wind to rattle

Such treasure in release

Untold billions

Of seeds

All that stored sunlight

In each one

Full of promise

Feeding an entire world of tiny animals

And insects

So much life happening

Right beneath our noses

Right there

In the time we think the fruit is done

Right there

In the time we brace for cold

Right there

Sowing seeds in profligate excess

Reminding us

That life is abundant

Sometimes invisibly

But life is abundant

Even in decline 

Even in the face of winter

Even as we die