by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
This is the time of letting go.
A flower cannot bloom until a seed bursts its hot heart,
Yields its identity to moisture, soil, and sun,
Surrenders its seedness to stem and leaves and life
And at long last, to the juicy thrust of flower.
A river cannot open into sea
If it clings to its identity as river,
Hanging back in stagnant side-pools,
Afraid to take the plunge.
Only if it can gird up its river-heart,
Release all it has ever known
(Those familiar riverbanks)
Can it learn the buoyancy and splash
Of an ocean wave. And even then
If it defines itself as a solitary wave
Crashing against a singular rock
It will think itself little, limited, and helpless.
But letting go of its separated waveness
The wave relaxes into moon-sucked motion
Surging with the vast pulsebeat of the sea.
Oh, my cowering, crouching heart:
Do you want to be a seed clenching its teeth
Against a flower that struggles to be born?
Do you want to be a river growing brackish
In a backwater pond, toxic with fear of flowing?
Do you want to be a wave that thinks itself only a wave
Instead of the movement of Infinite Ocean
Embracing Earth and rocking with the moon?
Ah, my constricted heart:
To know the power that is your heritage,
You must let go.
© 1996 Virginia Ramey Mollenkott. Originally published in Update, volume 20 number 3 Fall 1996. Reprinted by permission. This special Untold Volumes selection was originally published in 1996. In honor of CFT’s 50th anniversary, CFT is republishing some articles, reviews, and other pieces which were previously unavailable online.