A Poem: Wisdom

What is this wisdom
that confounds the wise.
This learning that needs not books
to expand,
but still attention.

What is this growth,
that is more loss than gain,
a shedding of ourselves,
to find out
what’s underneath.

What is this knowledge,
which is hardly built upon,
but more a slow de-construct.
A burning
of what has not served.

And this path,
that leads in,
rather than out –
the spent foliage,
fallen now as mulch.

What is it,
but gold to furnish
next season’s growth.
A bed of leaves in which
new life stirs.

Yes, this wisdom that matures
from the inside out,
what is it
but an unexpected boon,
drawn from apparent defeat.

A wonder that we cannot grasp
until the wrapping falls off,
but which
with a new humility
we hardly recognise as ours.

And we do not profess to know,
for what we’ve learned
is how loss, and empty hands
have made the sky and the whole
now ours.

And we would not now go back
to knowing it all.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
September 2018


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