Conversations under a cherry tree

Cherry blossoms have a way about them as they beckon you for a conversation beneath their laden branches, while they avalanche into confetti  triggered by the muffled sounds of people, under a wispy sun in the caress of a gentle breeze …

There were picnickers on the grounds, their colourful mats in sharp contrast to the pastels of their sylvan hosts. I had to return to Branch Brook Park on a sunny yesterday for photographs and to catch up with a dear friend. I promised I would write a poem to this meeting under the cherry tree.

Under a Japanese Cherry Tree
Blossoms occluded thought in a morning meditation of a centrifugal breath. Does the center of gravity reside in a cherry tree trunk, as we paint wispy conversations under the grace of seasonal confetti ? There aren't enough poems rooting under a cherry tree, yet our hearts communed in a space somewhere wordless, when we spoke of your parents and mine, how yours kissed earth last year and mine kiss sun. Death always eavesdrops on conversations under blossoms exhaling the dregs of life and I watched you make sense of the universe through the Book of Job and a just God. A meaningful theodicy claimed your heart, as you wove in a foreign land, a young life you knew, lost in a meaningless gruesome beheading, of a body bereft of identity, one vanished for a proper burial. And then, it wasn't lost on us, that here we were at the requiem of blossoms, in a pastel conversation of a petal caress, pedestrians led on thought, dogs led on leashes, a woman in a crimson dress posing to whitewash petals, a mature couple, the shades of beige and ebony under the trees, melded further in a secluded corner, and there we were, just the same. Us and them and the cherry trees, speaking of life, death, meaning. The beautiful world strangely floated in place to the ones that weren't blind to it's shades of exhausted blossoms, lining sidewalks. It couldn't have been more real than at that moment.

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Our conversations were on other topics as well, but I chose to stay with Job in this poem, specifically because of trying to understand and justify the presence of evil in this world. The theodicies in the Book of Job are too numerous to mention here.

As an atheist despite my Catholic upbringing, I always find intriguing  how we come to terms with the contradictions in our beliefs, professed ethics and perceived realities. Does misfortune strengthen belief, then, would we be in danger of feeling entitled to good  fortune when it does appear, in a certain arrogance of thinking ourselves deserving, therefore ? How does one justify human evil as the reality of existence? How does one justify judgement as ethical and necessary? How does one approach all this in the absence of God? Do secularists, atheists etc rely on other formal institutions for their social or human conscience? It is much more complex as people are all different or are they really? Or do they simply don the garb of a convenient persona within their social cohort, simply believing they have a unique ideology of selfhood, conscience, morality untainted by their social circumstance ?

The only real in all of it is that some live while others die, some suffer less at death while others die a horrific one,  some heal while some hurt, some deceive and others  don’t, some love while some hate, some are evil, others saints, some brave some cowards, some happy, others sad … or it’s just death that is real in the end and the birthing of life while all else is simply a poem.

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