We are all unstable; yet some of us balance better than others.
There is the strongman who stands upon the ground balancing; And nothing (not wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow) will make him move; A thousand tiny muscles constantly adjusting inside; While he smiles, immobile, before the onslaught.
There is the child playing with motion; Mother gently holding hands; Who swings from side to side until he holds the spot; And their laughter makes him fall.
There are the lovers, hands interchanged; One swaying left and the other swaying right; As they learn that balance together Is easier than balance alone.
And then there are the dancers, Who flow the instability from extreme to extreme, Swaying to some beat they hear and we see, And we cannot look away.
True beauty though, True beauty, Comes in the circus. As the dancers hold the lovers Who hold the children Who hold the strong men Who hold the dancers; As the music courses and A rhythm takes hold That hides the imperfections; We strum strum strum In beat beat beat To the sway sway sway; And balance together With music from nowhere Turns instability to art.
Once I was the oak upon the hill, strong and resolute. As the winds came, I sheltered the sheep beneath my boughs, and with a low grumble stood still against the storm.
And a leaf fell. And a twig snapped. And a branch fell. And my trunk cracked and I tumbled.
And so I thought, I must not be an oak – I pretended to be a palm. I learned to bend, to twist, to turn. In light winds the sheep still sheltered, but in the storms I yelled, “run you fools run!” Alone before the tempest I would dance, swing wildly, toss my body, my mind, my soul against the ground and air, and yell “I can withstand! I can withstand!”
And a fruit fell. And a frond snapped. And a branch fell. And my trunk cracked and I tumbled.
And now? From an acorn I grow anew, but I grow amongst the palms, the sycamores and the ashes. The willows weep around me. The holly bushes snare lovers ‘neath their thorns. Our roots mix and our seeds mingle as the sheep graze beneath the canopy. So when the storms come my oakish torso will take my share as we raise our leaves to the heavens.
And the fruit shall grow. And the leaves shall wave. And the branches will soar As our trunks worship the forest for our trees.