02 April 2006

              The Plant at my Window

              I want to be the potted plant
              at my window because it exists
              without fear or worry
              it understands that its sole purpose
              is to live and grow
              and in the most adverse circumstances
              it will not complain against
              fate or cruelty.
              Having nothing to hope for,
              it will not despair,
              and as it does not know the
              meaning of giving up,
              there will be always be a new leaf
              a new flower, or an old root
              pushing deeper still
              for water, for as long as
              this is possible.
              A final day will come,
              as it must for all that live,
              but the end, as I imagine it,
              will be painless and without regret,
              without a sense of being
              or a need for courage,
              without even a trace
              of memory.
posted by Gilbert at Sunday, April 02, 2006


Blogger Bluesky_Liz said...

I like this. Every now and then one is incline to think that it might be well and good to live without pain and just grow with whatever is given without knowing better. But somehow, trying to picture living like that seems rather despairing.

April 02, 2006  
Blogger Pat Paulk said...

I see nothing wrong with the poem. I like the way it flows with a continuity of thought, and the ending wraps it all up very nicely!

April 04, 2006  
Blogger spyder said...

Hi Gilbert,
Thanks for visitng my blog and commenting. You made my day :)
My 2sen worth on 'The Plant at my Window': I feel sorry for your plant. It is potrayed as having some 'intellect' and 'feeling' since it "understands" (L4) its purpose in this life is to "live and grow" . Sure, this means it has accepted its lot in life. But it is also potrayed as having "nothing to hope for" and it "does not know the meaning of giving up" - hopes and struggles are all part of the lving out of life. So, to me the plant is merely existing and not living. When it dies, it will die "without even a trace of memory" - wow! powerful statement - makes me wonder if I want to die like so ... and don't think I want that. So, I would not want to be that potted plant at your window. :)

April 04, 2006  
Blogger MB said...

The writing of this is fine, I think.

But I find myself wondering how you can know what this potted plant is thinking or feeling. What if it's really feeling imprisoned, staring out the window in desperation at the wide, wild world outside? How would you know?

Supposing you have correctly guessed its outlook... would you really want to live like that? Would you be happy given such limitations, or would you not know any better? What of your own life and self would you retain? Something, evidently, because you are anthropomorphizing a plant!

Perhaps these questions take me beyond the scope of your poem, but you did ask what I think! :-)

April 05, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

Thank you all. It's very encouraging for me to read your comments.

My real intention was to contrast the complexities and challenges of being human, with a simpler kind of organic existence ...

From your comments, I think I may have succeeded!

The original inspiration behind this poem, however, was a potted plant at my window which I constantly neglected. Due to irregular watering, it would shrivel, then I would water it, and it would revive, then I would forget again, then it would shrivel, then I would water it ....

Well, one day, it died. And I felt guilty.

April 05, 2006  
Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Hi Gilbert...I guess I will the lone dissenting voice here, however I love your idea for this poem. I find myself delving in such sentiments all the time. During my childhood, I (horribly) told my parents I wished I never existed and still do feel the same way, especially with all the madness (socio-political) in the world, and the senselessnes of suffering... Sorry I got too sidetracked (this poem happened to tap into my mood over these past weeks).

I kinda have a problem with the first line, which seems a bit forced and perhaps a little too staid with the 'I'. Maybe it's just me... perhaps, it might be better to just bo straight to the description of 'my plant' that sits there on the window sill, just existing (I love yr use of this word), without the slightest care in the world. Like other commentators, I think "it understands" is a little problematic, though u do state at the end that it is your imagination. The phrase "adverse circumstances" also sounds a bit trite.

Hope this doesnt sound too harsh

April 05, 2006  
Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

No, no, it doesn't sound too harsh - I welcome your comments and am constantly rethinking and editing my poems based on the feedback from the readers of Reader's Eye. Thank you.

April 05, 2006  

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