under heaven

Under Heaven
george l stein

walking in the woods, cautious steps over a gouge deep in the earth
cold river, silver flashing, quick and angry
unforgiving, sideways stepping down a steep hill
to fetch an empty pail, then tumbling head-long into a storm
the dream begins with water, ends in vapor
and pricks the conscious bubble

a turn to everything, there is a season
a time and purpose, it is written
a time for gathering stones together
to greet a sinner or launch a saint in disguise
a time for turning and sowing for an uncertain harvest
then in the fall, reaping the bitter seeds of doubt

this is the time to refrain from embracing
to tear down with a purposefulness and mindful recklessness
a reduction of flesh and hope to cinders and ashes
it is written that this time will turn, as all times have turned
but perhaps, with a mercy, this will be the last
season, time, and purpose under heaven, with a casual cowardice
to turn and run away

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