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" A good traveller has no fixed plans,

and is not intent on arriving "

Lao Tzu

Japanese Maple

September 19th, 2014

japanese maple

After yesterday’s post on Dennis Potter, Juliet commented (thank you!) about this wonderful poem by Clive James. It’s very sad to hear that James is dying but his poem – like Potter’s words – suggest this extraordinary process can bring with it an intense experience of living and a powerful realisation of our humanity. His words are very touching…

Japanese Maple

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air. It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.

~ Clive James


4 Responses to “Japanese Maple”

  1. What a wonderful picture and poem. I’ve always thought Clive James is verbally very clever and in the past very funny. I hope he knows how other folk love his work. God Bless him and may he be at peace for his transition to Spirit. /|\

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