Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

The Dinner Table, the Tulip

Rhea Tregebov
From:   Mapping the Chaos. 1995, pp 57-58.

So what do we do with this,
this world, this uncertain spring,
the tulips still holding, things green and cold.
Take the tulips, composed, driven to yellow or rose
from their chilly green, given to order,
unfolding. The colour they move towards
held for a day, or a week, contingent
on the weather, accident. Then paling or darkening
into other shades, then the quick
or slow decomposing. Coming to grief.
To being not tulips. Does rot
have its own order? I think not.
Theorists see things moving
to degeneration, some, and looking down,
I might be inclined to agree, skidding down
to an agreement since more than the weather
this spring is uncertain. Systems large
and small are flawed, disintegrating.
Think of anything: my respiratory system,
the world's. Today I run along the cul-de-sac
in the swanky end of our neighbourhood.
As always, there are vans parked in the driveways.
Things are being taken care of, expensive systems
in need of maintenance. The rest of us
are short on money, time, love.
And you so careless, the roof needing repair,
plaster crumbling from the living-room ceiling,
faith battered, struck by dilemma. Ah you.
It's a good thing it is spring, my faith still holding,
in me, this body running along concrete,
however the lungs rasp. Spring inclines me
elsewhere, to lean towards other theories -
anti-chaos, the universal yearning
towards order. Setting the table just so.
The tulips in the right vase.
Yearning, yes, the scientist on TV wanting
it to be the case that we are at home
in the universe, that life is inevitable,
"the consequence of broad avenues of possibility,
not back lanes of improbability." Although,
agnostic, I might settle for back lanes.
I've loved their rough edges, seamy sides:
rusted garbage cans overturned, the
opportunity for scrounging, the
possibility of unexpected plenty.
A clump of fat white violets beside the garage
and beside them, blue ones, their pansy faces
attentive. Not an aberration but a plan.
Agnostic, I bless those looking
for a science of emergence, of complexity,
looking for a way to model complicated systems
like the dinner table, the tulip. And I
agree. The ultimate question not only
of science, but ours why is there
something rather than nothing.

Rhea Tregebov's works copyright © to the author.

Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Contact Information page