On A New Beginning

[This poem was prompted by reading John O’Donohue’s poem A New Beginning]

At my age to have a new beginning quietly forming
Seems more than miraculous
But I have trouble believing that I will hear it
My hearing not being what it once was
And if my new beginning is unheard
What am I left with
What of the old will replace the new that never got born
An aborted new beginning
An empty womb
Where once the promise of new life was forming
Attached to me
Growing with me
Helping me grow
Now ripped away
To die as I die

Ah, God, this, I fear, is all that is left
Until the new beginning in a different life
Or maybe just a new ending in this one
The shroud, I suppose, is not just enveloping
But soft

I write and try and try
To not try, as Alan Watts once advised
Before that wet bath tile
Brought him to an unexpected end
And perhaps a new beginning
Did he meet Thomas Merton, do you think
Another man much enamored of new beginnings
And, apparently, of one young nurse
Ah, so many bright new beginnings
Wander down into so-called sin
Much like Adam and Eve
In Eden’s Garden

That prototypical new beginning
That did not end very well
Shame and eventually a sibling murder
And through it all
Did Eve stand by her man
Naked or clothed

What was her sin, really
To listen to a snake
Or to reach for a forbidden fruit
Forbidden by Adam’s God

Who was Eve’s goddess
Would she have forbidden Eve
To reach for a new beginning
To reach for that fresh fruit
To stretch high
To stand on tiptoe
To shake the branch
Pluck the fruit
Feel it
Smell it
Lick it
Like two year old Milo smells and licks just about everything
His world beginning to be discovered
By touch and smell and taste

Did Eve boldly bite
Or gingerly lick
Did she wonder at the juice of it
Was she afraid
Or was she excited?

This we know:
She wanted to share that new beginning
“Adam, you have to try this”
Was God jealous?
His new beginnings all done
Creation finished
But here were his creatures
Enjoying something new
Something the woman dared to reach for
Touch, smell, taste, share

That is the new beginning I want
Just something ordinary
To greet with wonder
And share with my partner
My partner in new beginnings
After loss
After widowed
After grown children
Into each other’s houses
To our new beginning
Life together
Until death do us make yet another
New beginning

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