Wednesday, May 16, 2012

AllWeAre is AllWeKnow

12th Street, Lynchburg, VA

behind the abandoned factory,
its windows broken by stones thrown,
a rusted Loading Zone sign stains
the wall with trails down to
where the asphalt rises in a pucker
like an infant volcano.

between the cracks of its lips
long fingers of green grass reach for the sky
waving -
     waving -

calling us
to press on, regardless

no Cedar of Lebanon, still
it knows no different


written for Poetry Jam and Imperfect Prose.

The Cedars of Lebanon have great significance to many ancient cultures. Some believed them to be the House of the gods. Specifically in the Biblical Narrative, Moses ordered it used in circumcision as it was said to have medicinal quality. Isaiah also used them as a metaphor for the Pride of the World. I think either interpretation of its significance works in this.

85 comments:

Natasha Head said...

No Cedar of Lebanon? That statement alone is a poem in itself! Who needs life eternal when ignorance is bliss. I always thought I was amazing till someone told me different... ;) Let that little mountain be all it can be...who are we to say its NOT. At the time of posting, this did declare me as comment number one...I think that's pretty cool ;) Awesome write, Sir Poet

Mama Zen said...

I really like this, Brian.

ells said...

lynchburg Va...my husband and I lived there right after we got married. he played baseball for the Mets...and we were sent to lynchburg to play. I loved it...at least some 31 yrs ago. It was just so beautiful...
blessings to you~

Dolly@Soulstops said...

what powerful imagery..."where the asphalt rises in a pucker//like an infant volcano"...I could go on but then I would be quoting the whole poem ...will ponder some more...thanks, Brian :) Praying that you may sense God's leading as you wait (you wrote that on my blog comment about waiting)...He is working even when you don't think He is :)

Maggie May said...

I love this.
Its wonderful to see old things peeping out of the weeds. Makes you wonder about the way things were before.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Annmarie Pipa said...

makes me think of all that is around that has its own story

Claudia said...

amidst all the destruction and the thrown in windows something that's still alive, reaching for the sky..well..yes.that speaks to me..

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Very visual today. Well done.

drybottomgirl said...

Your "visual" is outstanding! I was able to watch this from the beginning. Glad you and yours are well :-)

Beth said...

I definitely can relate more to the "grass" than the "Cedars of Lebanon." So this encourages me that "I" matter. Thanks so much for your beautiful prose, Brian!

kaykuala said...

Even though not a Cedar of Lebanon the grass struggled through to live. There was great tenacity oblivious of the rot and rust of buildings nearby.Powerful verse akin to man's fight for survival. Great write Brian!

Hank

Daydreamertoo said...

I don't think it matters too much to the tree what type it is either. :)

Eva Gallant said...

I like the description of the puckered asphalt.

Eva Gallant said...

I like the description of the puckered asphalt.

Lady Nyo said...

Brian, this is so simple, stripped down from our 'usual' voices, that it stands front and center.

I love the subdued voice of this poem today....the 'infant volcano', the waving grass.

Your personification of such little and unremarkable stuff makes it live.

Lady Nyo

Mary said...

It always amazes me how something as seemingly weak as grass can break through asphalt. I see this every day on a walk I take with my granddaughter. At first it was just a pucker, then a small blade, and now several blades. Definitely a lesson in perseverance. Life always finds a way to come back...despite odds.

Gloria said...

Love this:) I know Im not so original LOL but is true

janaki nagaraj said...

A green among gray...life among abandonment...nice.

Helen said...

Choose your enemies carefully, 'cause they will define you ~

Lyrics from U2's Cedars of Lebanon ... your poem reminded me of how much I love that piece of music.

Great poem, Brian!

Syd said...

I like those old abandoned buildings. I wonder who used to be there and what it was like when the building was filled with some activity. Houses are especially moving and many in the day were built with cedar planks like the old home place in Virginia.

ipenka said...

I had to look up the cedar of lebanon to get a better idea since didn't know what it was (buddhist) but once I did, the poem really clicked.

Description of loading sign and imagery was great as usual!

Hilary said...

Everything has its story. Nobody illustrates this better than you.

Sorry for my scarcity around the blogs, these days. It makes catching up near-impossible. Eventually... :)

Sue said...

You painted this picture vividly, Brian. Well done.

=)

Lisa notes... said...

"calling us
to press on, regardless"

Yes. That is our call. Hard or easy, press on... Thanks, Brian.

Friko said...

You've done it again. you made a poem out of a most mundane sight.

Brian, I can see you as poet for our times, the recorder of contemporary life, the seamier side of it, rather than the pretty side.

Fred Rutherford said...

Love the reference here, very nice touch. We have abandoned factories all over the place here unfortunately, kind of depressing to go by them and thinking what was, what could of been. Really good verse Brian, and the fact you put a sacredness to it, makes it all the more powerful a piece. Great job. Thanks

Matt said...

This one was short and sweet, great stuff Brian!

Jules said...

Seeds can be very strong, blown into the unknown - I like that 'infant volcano'. I've been told of tulip bulbs that have been covered over with stone and paved over with inches of tar, and they push and push and break through seemingly unconscious of their strength and growth.
Nice visual of abandonment as well as the hope of survival.

janae said...

As one folds into the other - as we fall and rise. Beautiful words, Brian

Janelle-A Story of Grace said...

You have such a gift for words, Brian.

Janelle

Tara Miller said...

There is hope. In all things broken there is healing

Tom said...

i guess you can find hope in any living thing, 'specially coming up through the cracks

^.^ said...

Wow, this went straight through my heart, B ... where are my heart pills ...

happygirl said...

Cedars of Lebanon. They sound like a symbol of strength. Yet the grass breaks through the concrete. I liked this one.

Marita Abraham said...

Like tentative fingers, the weeds call out. I like the idea of hope in this poem.

Linda said...

I love this Brian. It brings a real sense of joy on a day when I'm feeling a bit surrounded by concrete!

Pat Hatt said...

A sense of the surreal
To prove one the real deal
All in ones own mind
Like my little rhyming behind
And stinkin blogger didn't show you on the list
To that I shake my fist

Tara Pohlkotte said...

"between the cracks of its lips
long fingers of green grass reach for the sky" - love how you really "see" the world brian. it does not get past you.

De said...

"where the asphalt rises in a pucker
like an infant volcano"

NICE. Love this image.

Laurie Collett said...

Years ago, an 83 year-old in-law I loved walked for the last time from the parking lot to the hospital where she would soon die from ovarian cancer. Yet on the way, in the blistering heat and commotion of a Manhattan summer day, she paused to admire a tiny flower pressing up through the asphalt. Hope lies in such moments of often unnoticed beauty, and especially in your poem.
Thanks so much for visiting & commenting on Saved by Grace! Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:
http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/
Laurie Collett

hedgewitch said...

This speaks to my gardener's heart--but I of course would like fewer asphalt volcanoes with my eternal striving for life. Nice one, bri, last lines are esp strong.

Lolamouse said...

This is fantastic, Brian. Grow where you're planted.

Steve E said...

When I see that long finger of green grass reach for the sky out from the mini-quake in my concrete driveway, I realize what it means to never give up, never quit.

Many other nice things here, but I'll stay with that thought--it fits me!

LOVE and PEACE, Brian--and for your Peeps also!

Laurie Kolp said...

Brian- I just love that first paragraph and how it sounds read aloud... great visuals throughout, too!

Modern Day Disciple said...

you had me at the infant volcano...I needed a poetry fix. Feeling dry there until today ...always appreciate your visits. Thanks.

Alice Audrey said...

The way you use the cedars of Lebanon works really well. It's new to me.

Anne said...

The things of God are greater than the things of man and His creation will outlast ours in the Millenium to come. To me it is so sad to see the abandoned factories and to think of the men abandoned by the promise of stability and prosperity. And right now it doesn't seem as if there is any hope for such as these.

PattiKen said...

"no Cedar of Lebanon, still
it knows no different"

And that's what it's all about, isn't it?

Ed Pilolla said...

humbaba still awaits returning to those woods. what a reference and placement in the piece. great impact.

KB said...

Thanks for teaching me something I knew nothing about.

Valerie said...

Wow... what imagery. An old saying came to mind as I read this.... from all debris life emerges.

Zuzana said...

Dear Brian, I loved this because as you know, I love nature. And I am always amazed by the incredible determination and resilience of fragile, green plants that can push trough concrete or asphalt. True strength can be so versatile...
Love the connection to Cedars of Lebanon.:)
Have a great day dear friend,
xoxo

Dave King said...

This is the sort of writing I absolutely dote on. Impressive, brian.

Jinksy said...

And a blade of grass has the same urge to reach skywards as a tall tree in a forest...

LadyFi said...

A wonderfully symbolic poem.

izzy said...

Great sign! and now I have learned a little about cedars of Lebanon- thanks.

Lorraine said...

Boy, did you call it

Daniel said...

A simple observation can lead to some beautiful and rich truth. Love this one.

the walking man said...

We look back to the times when there was no rust allowed on the sign and now we see no jobs to keep us loading product onto an endless procession of trucks.

May ever politician passing by 12th street see that sign and know it is to their shame.

becky said...

Like hope rising...it always does.

SueAnn Lommler said...

So many of our cities are brought to my mind with your words. Abandoned factories and office buildings. Dreams and plans of a time long gone...Cedars of Lebanon for sure.
Hugs
SueAnn

Wander said...

"still it knows no different"
that is a very good line, maybe I'm strange for picking that one out of a whole poem...

Wander

Myrna R. said...

I almost missed this one. Glad I didn't. It has the depth that I envy in your writing. It evoked a sadness in me which is perhaps way beyond your intention. But the image of the empty factory evoked thoughts of poverty and need. The blade of grass - hope.

elizabeth said...

Hope, endurance, perseverance, blissful ignorance of our own smallness, that is what your words spoke to me.

Peggy said...

I like the way you compare this very ordinary sounding place with the Cedars of Lebanon--which I assume are a forest in Lebanon or once were. Excellent word painting here.

lori said...

It's lovely to think of life growing where death only seems to live. And, we all need to be reminded sometimes of the call to press on.

How in the world do you keep up with comments? You left one at my place in super speedy time. You are something else :)

Carrie Burtt said...

A powerful write Brian! Hope always breaks through the cracks...:-)

Loredana Donovan said...

I like the hope in this poem, too. Nice metaphor of the grass growing through concrete. Great contrast between the abandoned building and the living grass. :)

S.E.Ingraham said...

Brian - this aches with brilliance - such a unique take on this prompt ... really. I love it.

http://nsaynne.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/in-the-woods-the-stand/

Judy Roney said...

Wow! What power you yield with your words for an seemingly ordinary sign. Wonderfully crafted.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love your title, Brian.....and it always amazes me how grass and sometimes wildflowers can make their way through the most inhospitable concrete and rock.........sort of like our lives, in microcosm.

Heather said...

press on regardless....i agree, grow where you are planted!

a soulful life said...

Beautiful!

Mary Mansfield said...

Great poem! Love the sliver of hope the grass represents, a great contrast with the abandoned factory.

Margaret said...

I believe nature will always win. She just needs time to heel from our abuse. Love the asphalt pucker. You are amazingly perceptive.

poeticlicensee said...

Perhaps "all we know" is death. All else is conjecture, perception & imagination...

Karen said...

Even the smallest blade of grass can offer hope in the concrete jungle.

haikulovesongs said...

yes, we must press on...
regardless


wonderful, as always, brian!

Hannah said...

where the asphalt rises in a pucker
like an infant volcano.

I so enjoy your descriptions, Brian!!

Love the message in the end, too, hard-hitting. Excellent writing my friend, you planted lots of very poignant images in this one!

Christine said...

Great title, I especially like the image of the grass waving the traveler on.

Jen said...

Long blades of green grass...calling us to press on. Beautiful!

adan said...

"where the asphalt rises in a pucker
like an infant volcano" -

nice image! and of course love the sentiment with the grass blades reaching ;-)

short and very effective poem!

william said...

desolation is rife in this day and age with so many industries closing down, your right here.

Magpie said...

Imagery is your strong suit. You trump us all.

Matt said...

I like old and dated things like that. It's neat to think about all of the things they have been through and seen.