Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reflections -- II

Reflections – II
There is a current deep that we can sense.
We cannot speak about it with our words.
But with that current, we can mutely flow –
Or lose our sense of it and loudly splash.

The one surrendering to the water feels
That fluid lift her surely up again.
But he, who seeks to raise himself above
The surface, finds his struggle is in vain.

We all have fights we cannot, should not shirk,
Unless we choose to still our consciences.
And each of us must fend for selves and those
Who may depend on us to live and breathe.

But there are conflicts which we make ourselves
And which we then inflict on others ‘round.
Ambition, pride, our selfishness and greed,
Our misperceptions – make this turbulence.

So let us yield our petty jealousies,
Our envies, our ambitions small and great.
And let us breathe, resolve to do what’s right
And turn, from darkness, gently back towards light.
Our sight is clouded and our hearing dulled.
We cannot feel, with skin or heart – or think.
Our reason and our wisdom, we have lost.
And why is it that we have lost these things?

The demons that afflict this world abound.
They prey on us and so we do not see.
Our child is ailing or our mother's ill,
But we are sightless or are deafened still.

What form of madness may afflict us each,
We only know for sure when it has passed,
And some of us may never know or care.
So drunkards do their damage – and forget.

There’s fear that drives us into little hells.
We wonder how we can escape from this.
We feel we cannot change the world ourselves.
Yet each can breathe – and then can gently try.

There’s much that three can do that one cannot.
But there’s a concord needed, so that three
May find that common purpose. This can be,
When each is open and is listening.

A trust betrayed can rarely be regained.
And so, we should be careful in our deeds.
For how can there be confluence, when distrust
Has built the barriers needed for defense?

A vessel, filled with water, makes, when thumped,
A softer sound than one that’s partly full.
And much of noise and violence abates,
When all have drunk enough to fill their souls.

And here, we’re speaking, not of alcohol
And other things that have their merits yet
Have also faults that plague imbibers, but
Of essence – joy and deepest suffering.

But when we’re emptied by an ebbing tide,
Then thoughts arise, like sounds within our head,
And we attempt to fill ourselves again,
With silent essence – or with nonsense loud.

So all the verses that I write arise
From discontent and from that loneliness,
To which our disconnection leads our selves,
Those fictions that can gain in strength from strife.

What’s self, what’s not, is fixed by such a line
As is imagined, yet does not exist.
It dissipates to porous nothingness,
Whenever we examine it up close.

We’re made of this and that, in interflows.
And our perception, of ourselves and things
As separate from all around and what
Was there before or will be there, is false.

But who, except the sainted, yields the self,
That last illusion, stronger than the rest,
Whose shattering or dissolution comes
As pain or joy, as torture or relief?

So beings such as you and I arise
As do the nations – and we struggle, fight
When self is threatened, fortifying self –
And so are doomed to our imprisonments.

The humbled, stripped of wisdom too, may seek
To gain their stature back and then take pride
In stupid things – and so are fooled again.
Within an emperor?  A troubled child.

How often have the tantrums of the "great"
Or all their shrewdness caused the rest such grief
That men and women, lifting arms to skies,
Have sought, from infants such, deliverance?

But there are things in which we may take pride,
But quietly – no need, that others know...
Our wee successes give us nourishment,
And so we live on satisfactions small.

When some achievement, in the human sphere,
Gives confidence and strength to us again,
We should remember then our losses past
And so regain our precious humbleness.

Some things we all may know, some other things
A few of us discern. But then there are
The things that men and ants may never ken.
And those could be the most of all there is.

So if we're like the whorls an oar may make,
We're born in pairs and dissipate with time.
But who and where our whirling twin may be,
We do not know.  We turn until we fade.

But we could also be like summer storms
That rise and rage and then are swiftly gone.
They leave behind the wreckage of the trees
As well as blessings that give life again.

What ruin have we wrought – or blessing brought?
We do not know, we live and do and die.
And all our work appears as ashes, yet
From ashes rise the firebirds once again.

Ah, love – that blessing that the heart that sees
Confers on what is sighted – what compares
With you, except that wonder that we feel
On watching, being – as the dance proceeds?

This world, of wonders and of horrors mixed,
Of loves and hatreds – who has sense enough
To know its purpose – or has wisdom still
To live a life, whose damage is the least?

Oh let us breathe once more of this, the air
That others past have breathed, that yet remained
As fresh as when the ancients breathed of it,
Until we fouled it with our devil-mills.

And let us drink of that, which others drank,
Which yet remained as pure as it was then,
Until we poured, within those waters clear,
Those effluents that now have poisoned it.

And let us softly walk upon this earth,
On which so many past have walked, which yet
Remained as fertile, till we made that earth
Ingest the toxins that our mills emit.

And let’s resolve that when we leave there’s naught
We leave behind to let another know
That we were here, except a whispering,
A fragrance or a glimmer in the dust...

The foolish seek achievement and create
The horrors that have made, of life, a hell.
The wiser seek effacement, as they work
To heal the wounds ambition always wreaks.

Who seems, to most of us, to be a fool,
Could well be wiser than we'll ever be.
And he, or she, who's worshiped now as wise,
May do, in hubris, what no fool has dared.

When all around are rushing, slow a bit.
The sun and moon appear to take their time.
The seasons take their turns, the babies grow
With all our nurturing – and then they age.

This was – and is – and will forever be.
Within this dance, we move in rhythm, rhyme
That yet allow for breaks and runs and twists.
The moment is – in which we all are free.

2014 May 17th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York

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