By and by

We dwell in the land
of broken things,
of completeness

degerminated and
stripped, then
inadequately enriched.
You know what I mean.

They will have to do,
the world’s compensations.

We will never be
more whole than
we were at birth,
bawling and bathed in

our mothers’ labors,
eyes wide but unable
to focus, to see what
we were in for; what

we were in for. The
details of your particular
deconstruction are
not important:

the injury to heart,
or limb, to organ,
or spirit. Nothing can be
perfectly reconstituted.

See the tattered flower,
the crippled deer,
the helpless flutter
of the butterfly’s

remaining wing, how
we arrive, by and by —
every sentient being,
every fragile, shaled life  —

 at the place
we never left.

And be glad, be glad:

So much company and
so little loneliness,
in the land of broken
things, so little loneliness

in the end,
after all.



  1. Hi, Cate. It is said that life is suffering, and that how we respond to it makes our life what it is. I really can’t disagree. But as you point out so very well, in that suffering we all belong to the same club in one way or another. There is solace in that, indeed. Peace to you. -Russ


    1. Hello, Russ! I hope life is treating you well (and that if it isn’t, you take refuge in equanimity and the inevitable swing back of the pendulum). Much solace, indeed, in a bow to common embodied experience — pleasure as well as pain — even though we so often get invested in the specifics of our own particular narratives. Peace to you, kindred spirit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cate, thank you for this one. Anxieties about the world around me (and my inept influence on such) leave my mood very much like a tattered flower. I take from your poem a sense of this life-span being an education in give & take, various aspects of self waxing/waning till ultimately recycling. I’ve very, very curious what sort of next-round existence I may be unknowingly prepping for!


    1. You’re welcome, Jazz. I’m like you in being curious about what comes next — and really hoping something does! I’m sure I’ve still got a lot to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

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