A Poem: Alone

God give us a strange autonomy,
two legs and arms, a heart and mouth,
one mind.

A room sometimes of our own.
A silent house. A life contained.
An ache for a ghostlike limb.

That nature is both interlinked and
impartial, wired for this greater work
of surviving,

leaves us in a sense, alone.
Intimately connected while aware
of each limit of our influence.

Each prayer into the wind,
and bounding echo in the void,
each shedding of our selves.

How without us the world will turn,
that we, a land cut off from the main,
will feel ourselves an island.

Or a tree above the undergrowth,
growing in maturity
learning what can’t be held.

Yes, that God gives us a strange autonomy,
a prelude for letting go,
a sense that all our control

must like the body give up,
give in,
is the strange secret of growth.

That we in our understanding
learn how little we own.
We, in our imagined success

learn to leave behind,
everything loved and borrowed.
All we’ve sought to call ‘mine.’

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
May 2021

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