This was taken a few weeks ago when Spring’s green fuse was beginning to burn and drive the uncurling, the repeated patters of the fiery fern. Watching this revelation reminds me of the archetypal patterns that are not only in nature but in the deepest reaches of the psyche. One of them is the pain of falling and the joy of finding the uncurling resurrection within that falling.
I write the poem below in 2010 on a trip accompanied by my darling Wilma to Tuscany with the poet David Whyte. It had been the most wonderful week, but somewhere deep, in my unconscious lurking, was the intuition that these great times are never given without a corresponding dark price.
Sure enough it happened, it was the penultimate day and we were going to a lovely lady called Lori’s villa for an al fresco final supper. All the vineyards were surrounded by electric fences as they were ready for harvest, you could feel the ripeness on your tongue. We had to pass though one of these fences and, of course as I stepped through I kicked the stick propping it open and fell on the wire. Now my wife assured me that volts and ohms are different but it gave me a good enough shock. She said you are not going to have a hearth attack are you! And I thought well I wasn’t but now you mention it! Thankfully I didn’t, just an attack of deep humiliation! I then thought – there you go the start of the payment.
The next day we are asked to speak of what we had harvested from the week. I saw it in a glimmer, all these things in my life I took as payments for goodness were not bad, or the calling in of a debt, rather they were another form of blessing. A dark magic that contained more of my good than the so called easy days. I have been brought up sharp by this again recently – but I still hold true to my faith in falling.
The Italian week uncurled
like a tight packed fern frond,
each day a new disclosure
replicating an unlooked for
earthy Tuscan generosity.
Yet in some cynical corner
of your autobiographical memory
a presentiment of that stomach
churning lurch, that upending
rug pull endured, lurking.
Too many early losses
producing a canker of distrust,
a balance sheet approach that says
everything good will have to be
paid for in a painful coinage.
As you slid down the hill
on that final day, guard down,
it happened. The electric fence
protecting the ripe vineyard
was propped open with a stick.
You crouched and thrust a leg
through the aperture of freedom
only to kick the stick and slip
back, hand and full weight on
the horse kick of shocking current.
You knew it immediately for
the moment of retribution,
the payment to the ferryman,
body drumming with energy and
embarrassment, your luck run out.
Yet in the circle of reflection
on the morning of departure
you saw all the rug pulls in another
light and a voice said ‘you know
there is great power in your falling’.
The providence of upheaval opened
Its generous hand to you, reworking
the territory of the past—exposing
that the presence in loss is the
impudent sprouting of a new life.
From ‘Arriving in Magic’ – Purchase here My Site – Photo copyright Adrian G R Scott