Part I: The Seed
The seed, all rounded shoulders and protective back
curled over generations of plant history.
Years ago, or maybe just last year, the survival of the fittest key
fit in the evolutionary lock and ticked over, guaranteeing
this seed space in time.
It send up a single tendril, like Noah’s bird, to taste the air and rain
and guess the chance of survival up on the curved horizon.
Yes, it says. Yes, go. Go now.
A flourish of leaves, the next generation, follows.
Learning what it needs to survive, form seeds, continue.
The kernel fueled the webbing–roots that hold the earth.
One-of-a-kind, seen or unseen, it grows, thrives.
Part II: The heart and spoon
The maker lifts the soup spoon and considers
Bowl: to hold. Stem: to guide.
He sees another shape that holds and guides,
melts down the spoon, intent on forming it.
Across the surface rises a forgotten taste of copper in the mouth.
Into a curve, a flash of heat runs through a seam, a flaw
that cracks the heart but does not break it.
Despite the flaws, the heart takes courage from the maker
who tops it with flames: focus, strength, and constancy.
Whose damaged heart would not be better off crowned with those flames
to prove it can survive, just for itself?
Part III: Talisman
“What is that thing around your neck?” I’m asked, and answer
“What do you see?”
“A beet!” says one. Adds, “I hate beets,” scowling, leaves.
Another says, “The sacred heart of Jesus, you must be Catholic!”
No need to answer, he has his answer all wrapped up, so sure and smiling.
Another says, “It’s messed up, like, discolored, and did you see the crack?
And you still paid for that? Man, he must have seen you coming.”
He did. He saw me coming. And he recognized
the love of the worn, well-used, imperfect heart.
The creator only fails if he quits creating.
The creator’s dings and flaws and cracks speak of experience,
as do the mottled hands, chipped nails, and the well-worn heart.
A talisman reminds us, through our touch
And fired by imagination,
who we are, and who we change to be.
* * * Talisman by George Wilhelm, sculptor
-–Quinn McDonald is a believer in talismans.