BAMBOO LEAVES

Their leaves of grass* emerge and fade;
with windblown rustling tongues converse.
The grove has grown throughout the universe,
spreads everywhere its pleasant living shade;
creating north south east and west
(the fierce, unending struggle to be best);
relentlessly growing.
The variety is unimaginable,
the sameness unknowing
and unknowable.

The grove is all its roots and culms and leaves,
yet every leaf contains the whole,
every living thing that breathes
and all its universes, as well.
All things are perfect
in their subatomic details
and reach out blindly to direct
networks of rhyzomes and roots 
carrying new, all different, identical shoots
to every part of infinite space
until the chain of being fails.

And every leaf has a human face,
and every culm is a human heart.

At the end of a kalpa,
the grove gathers its energy
in an explosion of mass flowering;
an outward showering
of fruit and seed.
The clones wither and die,
the culms dry
and disintegrate
and crumble into food
to fulfill the eternal need
as a new regeneration germinates
and the whole grove reincarnates.

*Bamboos are part of the Poaceae, The Grass Family.

(from BAMBOO LEAVES poetry in Thailand)

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