Tiny Red Autumn Berry

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(I discovered this tiny berry growing in the hedges surrounding our deck)

How many pigments crushed to

paint this bright red berry almost

swallowed whole by all the spiky

needles preening in their glossy green?

How long to shape this perfect

roundness, stroke to satin smooth

this tiny lucent skin?  And why such care for

one so small, unseen by almost

all the world?  This berry spells a

mystery, a wonderment of all things

small—my tiny life, and yours, and

tiny lives that shine around the

world in quiet dignity, blotted out

almost amidst the greens of overblown

celebrities or by the browns of sweat and

toil or by the harsh and sooted hands that,

seeking gain and theirs alone, so careless

smudge the careful-crafted images of One who

joys in every berry small, in every little life, in every

speck of the divine encased in fragile dust.

 

6 thoughts on “Tiny Red Autumn Berry

  1. Whoa. Where to begin . . . so many beautifully alliterative phrases: “needles preening in their glossy green”; “stroke to satin smooth this tiny lucent skin”; blotted out/overblown/browns of sweat,” etc.

    When I first saw the image, I thought: “Look how the grass is protecting that tiny thing!” so I was not expecting the direction your poem took. So I looked again, and yes, those needles are preening, aren’t they, leaving that bright red berry in the shadows. I love that you acknowledge the trouble God went to create each one of us like that autumn berry. Maybe She’s as fussy as I am.

    QUESTION: Why doesn’t God blot out the overblown celebrities? I know there’s no answer. I’m grateful, though, that there’s a speck of the divine in my fragile dust.

    One last thing: should “careless” at the end of the fourth line from the end be “carelessly”?

  2. I do like your “Maybe She’s as fussy as I am” and think that does sum up God’s intimate connectedness to each of our tiny selves. As to the perennial question of why God doesn’t blot out overblown celebrities, well…as you say, we just don’t know. They’ve survived all through history, so our current Overblown Celebrity is part of a long parade!

    As to “careless”–yes, grammatically it should be “carelessly,” but I often deliberately use an adjective where an adverb is called for–simply for emphasis.

    Bless that speck of the divine in your (and in all of our) fragile dust!

  3. Thanks for the poetry lesson, Carol. I see what you mean about “careless” having more emphasis than “carelessly.” I feel a bit sheepish for sounding like an expert when I have never written a poem in my life. Forgive me. I’ve always wanted to write poetry, but just don’t have that particular gift. I’m grateful you do.

  4. Yes, I was thinking of that conversation as I worked on this poem. Thank you for all our conversations that have been so supportive and sustaining, especially in these difficult last few weeks.

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