Liberatore Suffoletta

Rookie - 8 Points (July 2,1948 / Pettorano Sul Gizio, L'Aquila, Abruzzi, Italy)

The Tree Of Life Sutra - Poem by Liberatore Suffoletta

Scarcely setting foot in Paradise
standing before a tree with two crowns
leaves of one, the face of a woman
leaves of the other, the face of a man
Are you the tree of Life?
Suddenly, a serpent coiled around
the single trunk that joined
two boughs
and was about to reply.
Not the tree.
So in delight and wonder at all
Beholden, knowing somehow
That the tree of life is near
I turn around and continue
on the way

Sure enough, another two crown tree
sun and moon
Are you the tree of Life?
sun seemed to assent
moon seemed to smile
Clusters of flowers all around
strange and wonderful
circles of many petal hues
bright faces with eyes peering out
some of the flowers nodded on their stems
smiling laughing like the sun
like the moon.
Some were silent, drunken, drugged
as if drowned in their own fragrances
Yet, their colors sang
One a deep mauve lilac song
One a periwinkle lullaby
Oh, what green eyes this own had
How much that one resembled first love?
The scent of another sang
In grandmother’s voice
recalling walks in a garden
when still young.
Then, another flower teased me
stuck out its tongue
long, arched and red
bending down, putting tongue to tongue
Wild taste, strong, like honey mixed
with raisins
yes, like a woman’s kiss

Alone among the flowers
heart beating fast, filled
with longing and timid joy
in anticipation of something
unknown, now slow
moving in time
with the rolling waves
of the green ocean
of desire.

Ablaze with color
a bird alights in the grass
each plume a different color
of the rainbow
some feathers invisible colors
of the spectrum.
Lovely bird,
Tell me where is happiness?
“Happiness”, the golden beak brimming
with laughter, “Happiness, friend,
is in each thing
valley and mountain
flower and gem.”

Ruffling its feathers
dancing, flapping its wings
turning its head, beating its tail
winking, laughing, spinning
around in a whirl of color
bird became
a multicolored flower
feathers became petals
claws became roots
marvelous transformation

Suddenly, weary of being a flower,
set its anthers and filaments
a whirling
and on petal like wings
slowly rising aloft
fluttering in mid air
a weightless shimmering
a new butterfly
a radiant bird-flower-butterfly
flying in circles
sunlight glinting off wings
gliding down to the earth
gently as a snowflake
luminous wings trembling
in change once again
becoming a gemstone
whose facets streamed
a red light
radiant red in the green, green grass
shrinking smaller and smaller
as if the center of the forgotten earth
called it back from Paradise
threatening to swallow it up.
About to vanish, so
I picked it up, clasped it firmly
gazed into its magical light
felt its red rays penetrate
a dark heart
radiantly warming it
with promised eternal bliss

Slithering down an ancient withered tree
a serpent hissed, just at that moment
of promise.
“This crystal can change you
into anything you want to be
quickly, tell it your wish
before it’s too late
swiftly, speak your command
before all vanishes.”

Without thinking, afraid of losing
rashly uttering a secret wish
to a stone.
Soon transformed into a tree
So serene, so strong, so dignified
striking roots in the earth
arms branching to the sky
new limbs growing
new leaves sprouting
thirsty roots drinking deep in the earth
leafy crown near the clouds
rustling in the breeze
feet sheltering hares
bark happy with insects
For many years, happiness.
Nothing amiss for a long, long time
Slowly learning to see
with the eyes of a tree
Suddenly, sight
and with sight, sadness

Rooted, while others continually
flowers become precious stones
or fly away as dazzling hummingbirds
Trees become running brooks
Crocodiles, fish-full of life
swimming away joyfully
Elephants become massive rocks
Giraffes long stemmed flowers
All of creation flowed
in endless metamorphosis
into one magical stream
while I, a solitary tree, looked on
unable to change
knowing this, knowing this,
Happiness vanished
started taking on that
tired haggard look of many old trees,
horses, birds, human beings.
in all life
that no longer
possesses the gift
of transformation,
deterioration and decline,
beauty gone,
nothing but sorrow.

Time passed as before, as today,
As tomorrow, as yesterday
Yet, one day, a young girl
lost her way in Paradise
Long brown hair
red pants
with magical writings
singing happy songs
wending her way
among trees
carefree, no thoughts of wishes
Animals smiled at her
bushes stretched their branches
trying to touch her
trees tossed fruits, nuts, flowers
her way
she paid no mind.

the solitary sorrowful tree
catching sight of her
felt an immense longing
a firm resolve, to recover
his lost happiness
an inner voice commanded
his own blood to concentrate
to take hold of himself
to remember all the years of his life
obeying the voice, lost in thought
mind’s eyes summoning up images
from his past, so distant
when he was a man
on the way to Paradise
that moment when he held
the magical stone
when every metamorphosis was open
when life had glowed more intensely
than ever
the laughing bird, the tree that was
both sun and moon
and he began to understand
all he had lost
in a lie
the serpent’s advice had been

Hearing rustling in the lone tree’s leaves
the girl gazed at him, once again
looking at his crown
she felt strange feelings
Desires and dreams welled up
in her pained heart, again
What was this unknown force?
Making her happy
when she sat
in the shade
of that tree
To her, in truth,
the tree seemed lovely,
sad, mysterious
Yet handsome, touching
noble in its mute sorrow
Captivating was the song
of its gently swaying crown
Leaning against its rough bark
she could feel shudders deep inside
Similar to the tremor
in her heart
Clouds flew across the sky
of her soul, reminders again of
heavy upsets and tears
fallen in her garden
Her heart hurt so, at times
beat so hard, at times
she felt it would burst
out of her bosom
Why did her heart want to cleave to him?
Melt into him?
The beautiful loner tree.

The tree, too, longed
to become one with the girl
with the long brown hair
and red pants
with magical writing
he gathered all his life forces
focused them
and directed them
towards her
roots trembling in effort
Now, he realized how blind he had been
how foolish,
how little, he had understood
Life’s secret
That lies have one wish
To lock him up inside a tree, forever.
And in a new light, an entirely different light
He now saw
the image of the tree
that was Man and Woman, together

Just then, in an arc, a red arrow
Came flying becoming a bird
Green and red, lovely daring
nearer it came
The girl saw it fly
saw something fall
from its golden beak
something that shone
Blood-red, red as embers
of a phoenix
and it fell in the green, green grass
so full of promise
deep red radiance
calling to her
Courting her
Singing out loud
The girl stooped down
picked up the bright red stone
ruby-garnet-crystal gem
wherever it is
no darkness may pass.

In her tender white hands,
the moment,
the girl held the magical stone
a single wish that filled her heart
was answered.
In a rapturous moment
she became one with the tree
transformed as a new bough
that grew out of a single trunk
higher and higher
into the heavens

Now, all was splendid
the world was in order
in that single moment
Paradise had been found.

The tired old tree was no more
Now, he sang out a new name
A new song
Out of half
he had become whole
Fulfilled, complete
attaining true eternal
A stream of continuing creation
flowed within their blood
and they could go on changing
forever and ever
becoming deers, becoming fishes,
becoming humans, becoming serpents
becoming clouds, birds, and gems.
in each new shape
For they were a pair
Holding the sun and moon
Flowing as a twin river
Through the earth
Shining as a double star
In the celestial sky

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Poem Submitted: Monday, December 28, 2009

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