What did the flowers know?

One of the flowers in my chain-link fence, Omaha. Dancers performing a Mozart Requiem Mass

One of the flowers in my chain-link fence, Omaha. Dancers performing a Mozart Requiem Mass

A poem about the death of my neighbor in Omaha

 

A chain link fence
separates my dwelling from my neighbor
I barely knew her
we seldom spoke.

Last night my neighbor was on the evening news
they said she was a teacher
renown for her gardening
loved by her students.

Reporters and cameras covered the street
as did the fire trucks
their rotating lights struggled
to penetrate the oppression
acrid smoke ensnared everything.

Tiny flowers on wispy vines
cling to the fence in such profusion
they almost hide its very existence
they have strange hours
these evanescent flowers
because they only remain open in the morning.

The flowers appear for the first time each year
as the summer season is about to die
bloom explosively
early in the morning they appear
only before first light
they appear.

Lavender, magenta, rose red, and white
small fragile stars with five petals
seem fierce for their vivid colors.

The fence flowers are more profuse
than ever late this afternoon
this is strange
it never happened before.

Just before the sun reaches its zenith
the fence flowers
always quickly tighten into cones
become invisible in the dark vines.

Fire erupted in my neighbor’s house
as she slept unaware
smoke choked the life out of her
just before first light.

No one knew until it was too late
only the fence flowers witnessed it
bright, silent witnesses
lavender, magenta, rose red, and white.

When the smoke enveloped the flowers
as they awakened
at first light
did they recognize the fragrance of a soul
with an inscrutable sense
as it fled its earthly body?

They tell me that a soul flower now blooms
where we cannot see it
illuminated in brilliance
in a faraway garden
forever.

During the winter when the vines shrivel up
and fall to the dirt
you believe they can’t come back
they reunite with the earth
they’re dead
you see the end of them.

Today the flowers
are brighter than they ever were before.

 

“And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty.” (Baha’u’llah)

What do flowers know?

One of the flowers in my chain-link fence, Omaha. Dancers performing a Mozart Requiem Mass

One of the flowers in my chain-link fence, Omaha. Dancers performing a Mozart Requiem Mass

Upon the death of my neighbor in Omaha

 

A chain link fence
separates my dwelling from my neighbor
I barely knew her
we seldom spoke.

Last night my neighbor came on the evening news
they said she was a teacher
renowned for her gardening
loved by her students.

Reporters and cameras covered the street
fire trucks with
their rotating lights struggled
to penetrate the oppression
acrid smoke ensnared everything.

Tiny flowers on wispy vines
cling to the fence in such profusion
they almost hide its existence
they have strange hours
these evanescent flowers
that only remain open in the morning.

The flowers bloom for the first time each year
as the summer season is about to die
bloom explosively
early in the morning they appear
only before first light
they appear.

Lavender, magenta, rose red, and white
small fragile stars with five petals
flaunt their vivid colors.

The fence flowers are more profuse
than ever late this afternoon
this is strange
it never happened before.

Just before the sun reaches its zenith
the fence flowers
always quickly tighten into cones
become invisible in the dark vines.

Fire erupted in my neighbor’s house
as she slept unaware
smoke choked the life out of her
just before first light.

No one knew until it was too late
only the fence flowers witnessed it
bright, silent witnesses
lavender, magenta, rose red, and white.

When smoke enveloped the flowers
as they awakened
at first light
did they inhale the fragrance of a soul
with an inscrutable sense
as it fled its earthly body?

Do they tell me that a soul flower now blooms
where we cannot see it
illuminated in brilliance
in a faraway garden?

During the winter when the vines shrivel up
and fall to the dirt
you believe they can’t come back
they reunite with the earth
they’re dead
you see the end of them.

Yet now the flowers
glow brighter than ever.

 

“And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness and bounty.” (Baha’u’llah)

Does the Real World Contain Colors?

In the Writings of the Baha’i Faith, we read: O MAN OF TWO VISIONS! Close one eye and open the other. Close one to the world and all that is therein, and open the other to the hallowed beauty of the Beloved.
— Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

I have written many times that I am endlessly fascinated by colors, their emotional effects, their psychological, and most importantly, their spiritual effects. Yet colors do not really exist. There are no colors! Color is one of the ultimate abstractions.

How the Mind Works: Revelations
“In fact, ‘external reality’ is a construction of the brain. Our senses are confronted by a chaotic, constantly changing world that has no labels, and the brain must make sense of that chaos. It is the brain’s correlations of sensory information that create the knowledge we have about our surroundings, such as the sounds of words and music, the images we see in paintings and photographs, the colors we perceive: ‘perception is not merely a reflection of immediate input,’ [the authors] write, ‘but involves a construction or a comparison by the brain.’ “For example, contrary to our visual experience, there are no colors in the world, only electromagnetic waves of many frequencies.” (Wikipedia) Definition of a Photon (Wikipedia).

The New York Review of Books continues:
“We can recognize and understand the actions of others because of the mirror neurons; …”
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21575

TYP03PAT13Sunrise-SanCarlos-M5-2

My view as a Baha’i is that one important purpose of physical reality is that it is a matrix. The way we learn about it, adapt, and react to to the physical world and its creatures trains our souls and provides a necessary yet evanescent and ultimately unreal classroom. In this matrix, we must have a definable form. In the next levels of reality we are recognizable but possibly formless or else of a nature or form that we cannot imagine from a physical perspective.

“The nature of the soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of men.”

“When the soul attaineth the Presence of God, it will assume the form that best befitteth its immortality and is worthy of its celestial habitation.”
— Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156

Ordinary language cannot describe our metaphysical future states.

“Exalted, immeasurably exalted art Thou, O my Beloved, above the strivings of any of Thy creatures, however learned, to know Thee; exalted, immensely exalted art Thou above every human attempt, no matter how searching, to describe Thee! For the highest thought of men, however deep their contemplation, can never hope to outsoar the limitations imposed upon Thy creation, nor ascend beyond the state of the contingent world, nor break the bounds irrevocably set for it by Thee. How can, then, a thing that hath been created by Thy will that overruleth the whole of creation, a thing that is itself a part of the contingent world, have the power to soar into the holy atmosphere of Thy knowledge, or reach unto the seat of Thy transcendent power?

High, immeasurably high art Thou above the endeavors of the evanescent creature to soar unto the throne of Thine eternity, or of the poor and wretched to attain the summit of Thine all-sufficing glory!”
Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 327

“The dwellers of the kingdom of names have busied themselves with the gay livery of the world, forgetful that every man that hath eyes to perceive and ears to hear cannot but readily recognize how evanescent are its colors.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 195

The world is continually proclaiming these words: Beware, I am evanescent, and so are all my outward appearances and colours.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 257

Evanescent: “tending to vanish like vapor,” “vanishing, disappearing quickly,” “lasting only a short time,”  “deficient in fullness.”

A related article is here: The Abstract Third Reality (Note, that is not a picture of a Manifestation on the page. He is merely a saintly figure and identified as such on the statue’s placard.)