“He Bides His Time”

“He Bides His Time”

He bides his time because there is no hurry,
The bus has come and gone, the traffic
Fought and conquered, the car beyond the static
And stifling rush to the open sea; the flurry
Of attentions and careful intercourse–the blur he’s
Experienced, the awful triumph of arrival, ecstatic
In the sense of high achievement, high above, emphatic
Victory, but odd in quiet self-composure in his daily journeys
Insofar as he’s survived to see his destination far beyond initial
Expectations and well honoured as the drone
Of choice, untouchable, beyond reproach, buttressed by success,
Thrice crowned, thrice recessed but ever honoured as the guest
Of all the hive while the competition still sits bewildered in residual
Reticence. Cynical, at the pinnacle, no fear, no grief, but very much alone.


5 responses to ““He Bides His Time”

  1. This one makes me think a lot… Some of it seems to refer to me…
    Esp., “…emphatic
    Victory, but odd in quiet self-composure to the point of worry
    Insofar as he’s arrived at destinations far beyond initial
    Is this about a particular person or a “type”?

  2. Many years ago when I was in my twenties, I had a dream. In that dream, I was driving on the Autobahn in Germany of all places [I’ve never been there] toward the north and the North Sea. In the dream at some point the traffic on the highway was so great as to create a traffic jam even to the point of barely moving but a few feet a minute. I was not alone, that is, I was travelling with others in several cars even though there was no one else in the car with me. At some point, I noticed the service road and the thought came to me that it would be as easy as pie to simply pull over and use the service road on which there was no traffic; after a time, that’s exactly what I did, and off I went! I clipped along at a ferocious speed to the sea and after a relatively short period of time, I reached the sea and pulled over. It was at that point that while I congratulated myself on the fact that I had figured out a way “to beat the crowd,” I may have arrived, but I would have to wait for my friends to catch up to me and so while I was no longer in the traffic jam, inching my way toward the end of the highway, still, there I was, alone, waiting, and for all intents and purposes, I knew that ultimately, I may have saved time in driving and saved myself from the sort of tension and frustration of being at the mercy of a traffic jam, but still, so far as time went, by the time my friends would have reached me, I will actually have saved no time at all and may just as well have remained with them, struggling along with them, and, in the end, arriving at the destination at the same time as my friends.

    This dream has remained vivid with me in all the last forty years, now. It has only been in the past ten years, however, that the implications of that dream have hit me. The question, now, quite clearly is, “Was there any advantage of arriving at the destination without the hassle, but, at the same time, alone and not at all sharing in the hardship of the journey with my friends?” At the moment, and especially in the last year, such thoughts have preoccupied me greatly insofar as in contrast to the dynamics of the 60’s and early 70’s, as it seemed to me, that a kind of demarcation line appear between that ever-active, highly volatile, apparently productive period of the first twenty years or so in the Faith and the last twenty-five years. As a matter of act, it only hit me in the last fifteen years in particular that I had been hell-bent [or heaven-bent as the case may be] only to hit that period after about 1974 in which seemingly all enthusiasm that were a matter of course before that time simply disappeared. The Faith didn’t disappear, but the effects of technology, the advent of mobility in cars, the general former occupations of Community Life and Assembly duties became more and more a secondary item, an “amongst other things” as opposed to being numéro uno on everyone’s priorities. Declarations at the rate they occurred before seemed to be more and more fewer in between, et cetera, et cetera, to the point that effectiveness was almost always trumped by the particular lists of “Things to Do” for most became retrograde when it came to the frequency and lessening in the dynamic growth of Community and Assembly life, and of course, ultimately, especially after 2002, the emphasis was on the Institute Courses and “Core Activities” which might well have been inspiring if the level of competency in getting things done, efficiently and with proper attention to detail that had erstwhile been one of the distinguishing features of Bahá’í Life before. Declarations went down to less than one a year; social interaction outside meetings became increasingly beside the point.

    Getting back to the dream and what it may or may not mean, it was not, as I say, understood by me what the hell that dream meant until the last ten years in particular when it seemed that I, myself, had to play it cool, retard into my own activities in my work simply because increasingly I may have been enthusiastic about interactions in Bahá’í Life but increasingly acquired the slow but steady incline toward doing things more by wrote with others in the Cause; it came as no surprise that what progress and spirit had been practiced formerly was just not there.

    I have to admit that I noticed something of the same thing in my work as a teacher; increasingly, I began to notice the demise of teachers who had, a least in the beginning, approached what they did as vocation with almost religious overtones. Increasingly, it was obvious that the rise of movement concerned with student rights, parental rights, racial rights and these coupled with a loss of principal rights, teachers’ rights and the elephantine increase of class sizes from an average of perhaps 25 to 28 students per class to 38 when I left, on the one hand, and drastic cuts to what teachers’ needs and demands for the classroom and its efficient running on the other, not to mention the fact that by the end of the career due to pressures from students, parents, principal, in short, everyone other than teachers and the application of ineffective teaching methods brought on by the removal each year of access to books and materials for lesson plans, not to mention the complete loss of all “outside markers,” these and other reasons contributed to the fact that by comparison I could only teach 5% to 10% of what I used to do simply because students were seemingly overloaded with their own extracurricular activities and priorities; all of the above created a situation in which very much, accordingly the reality of thoughts I had in that dream became a reality I could not ignore. In this day, it seems as if accident has been exalted to the rank of rule in all dealings with other souls to the point that there was little need to plan as copiously as I might have done in the past insofar as impediments to accomplishing a certain set of goals and competency for the simple reason that everyone, students, parents, principals, and the public at large were so overloaded with the ability and choice of taking on more and more though technology which in turn seemed to produce an entire generation of youth that have not the slightest conception of how to achieve anything with alacrity and competence but rather did many, many things, it’s true, but none of them well.

    This is all something of the inspiration of the poem. I feel that while I may have experienced the solid feeling of having accomplished something all these years, it also holds true that at times, I am simply sitting there, somewhat alone in the triumph of accomplishment and therefore reaping almost not benefit from it for lack of an audience that still consumes 99% of their time in search not of the miraculous but rather in merely material pursuits; while I love them, I am fully aware that once they get here, 1.) first of all by then, Scarlet, frankly, I won’t give a damn and whereas I have reached the shores of the Sea of Oneness and by now am acclimated to what implications there are in such an “emphatic victory,” still once everyone else gets here, I will still have to cope with the fact that they, too, will need a period of adjustment just as I did and the thought occurs to me that increasingly I find it ludicrous that in order to interact in any productive intercourse at all with the majority of souls I know, it seems that none of them are able or willing to take the bull by the horns and employ themselves with any enthusiasm to what their own ears tell them and what their eyes reveal and seem to have no idea where they are and why they are there, not to mention just who they are.
    I would expect that your experiences may well have been the same a mine; if accurate, these impressions are peculiar to the specific time in which we live; we live in constant transmission whenever there are successes apparently oblivious to the fact that whatever progress there may be in the quality of life or the achievements in anyone’s life are there more by accident a situation which at present seems to have been elevated to the rank of rule when everything in our society and even in the historical imperatives demanded in both the Lesser and Greater Plans it seems that we are content with the expropriation of the excess of life lived by accident notwithstanding whatever the greater the scope of lasting joys is so much more prominent if in fact we were as assiduous in achieving whatever the goal on purpose and by His leave.

  3. Yep, I thought the poem was talking about me 🙂

    Ya know, my current project with Notes from an Alien is all about what you’ve just said. Of course, I’m a massive Introvert and there are many stalwart Extrovert Baha’is out there winning Victories for the Cause…

    So, I cower in my writer’s cave and pray that my initiatives with the book and all the social networking I’m doing to promote it will redound to drawing a few souls toward the Light………

  4. Yes, well, it happened again. With my eyes being what they are and the fatigue I have felt lately, I’m afraid there are so many typos coupled with leaving out whole words and throwing reasonable syntax out the window that reading my comments must be somewhat tedious or at least confusing. Again, I apologise for that insofar as I know that you are quite busy these days and the thought of wading through undisciplined “paragraphs” especially centered on what seem to be less-than-concrete subjects and ideas at whatever the hour may well be just a little hard to swallow. In future, I will attempt to take more care and proof read what comments I have before sending them.

    I have determined to take the time to address your book, something that I might already have done already had I not felt a few setbacks in health due to the freezing weather that has limited exercise my legs need at this point; I know that I will enjoy reading once I get into it. After having read what I wrote and your last comment, it does occur to me that whatever I wrote was probably nothing new to you; after all, we are both facing the same world created by the same God and serve the same goals, ultimately. I will enjoy “getting into” your novel. Your last comment was an inducement to do just that.

  5. Well, we’re both aging warriors and, as such, can commiserate about our foibles, eh?

    I have no problems getting through your comments…

    Getting into my book?? Oh, Baha’u’llah!!

    May you, my friend, level all your comments, unedited, straight at my heart!!!

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