This is a fragment of a longer poem “Reflections in a Slum” by 20th Century Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid. MacDiarmid was a communist and a Scottish natiionalist. I think in this poem he envisioned a person becoming fully themselves under a more just and egalitarian political and economic system.
“People do not cease to interest me when they cease to be miserable. Quite the contrary! That it is important to aid them in the beginning goes without saying, Like a plant it is essential to water at first, but this is in order to get it to flower, and I am concerned with the blossom.”
I love the words in this poem because they remind me not to settle for too little, that is a little bit of health or a little bit of freedom. I think the “blossom” can signify radiant health or enlightenment, or whatever your own blossoming or your society’s blossoming means to you. As the great poet Rumi said, “You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep”. What kind of flowering do you want to have happen? As the Zen monk/poet Ryokan put it “…. If you point your cart north when you want to go south how will you arrive?”
I’ve been carrying this poem fragment around with me for about 35 years, and I think I am just beginning to “get” it — the full flowering or blossoming of an individual. No time to lose, our work is cut out for us! At the same time, we need to relax, get enough rest and take care of ourselves and each other. Though life is short, somehow the journey is not — lots of twists and turns, potholes, detours. Travel courageously, and as safely as possible! ♥ Gayle ps, your own poetry and comments are welcome here.