“I’d Like to Think”

“I’d Like to Think”

I’d like to think I am kind to all
I meet in every second season, selfless
Possibly; a distant reason alike to those who, though helpless
And veiled from hope still pick up the phone and call;
They must know that I’m enough to offer nothing of myself in words.
These angels only think they’re weak; I hear them when they read
The lines they’ve rehearsed like nursery rhymes and furiously feed
The mouths of meters of the rush hour, tokens only, fleeing spirits, birds,
forgotten souls encircling, kneading darkest manna in the night.
The ego rarely sees the joys of dawn; not prayer but breakfast comes
Between because their instincts make them fodder for the daily run
To close the open windows tight, and block the calling sun. Purity of light
Without, they prefer the fire within; the eyes are screened, by choice, preferring stations in a Conga line to eternity that knows no fear nor flight.

 

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3 responses to ““I’d Like to Think”

  1. Is this poem “fighting with itself”, on purpose??

  2. There is something about the “ring” of truth that cannot be hidden or denied for long. It is, I think, one of the blessings and, equally, one of the curses of merely being alive in this world that while we understand or comprehend to whatever degree, no matter how great the scope of understanding or depth of comprehension we may have, still, as you know, when all is said and done, there is the self-evident glory of the realisation that there is only one God, one sun, one truth, or even the mysterious wonder that there is only one of each of us who has been created; there is, however, an intrinsic chaffing or frustration in the reality that the ignorant have multiplied all four and every other form of light to a degree that inevitably brings ruin and disappointment in time with the potential of turning any light into fire or even flames. Of course, roasting chestnuts on an open campfire can be comforting and entirely enjoyable among a few friends, but indulging in the benefits of a fire can also ultimately burn down half the State of California or Colorado under the right conditions for catastrophe. I have the feeling that at the moment, in Egypt at least, there are many who may rightly hope that the present president of that country steps down and even leaves town, but there is also the natural fear of a kind of many-headed hydra in consideration of just who or what would replace the present dragon.

    As it seems to me, artisans to this point in the history of mankind actually excel and revel in the mere sharing of a sliver of pain that is the result of a many-eyed, multiple perception of existence. The skeletal remains of previously Revealed Religions attest to such a view and practitioners and clergy who claim to represent these religions devote their entire lives to the furtherance of an even more fractured rendition of already shattered truth; there is a generally mesmerising effect that cannot be denied to the sparkle of pieces of any broken mirror such that there are some who would prefer the dazzling effects of chards to the uses of a single, overpowering focus of the light through a polished mirror. Any true artist brings to light a sharing of the joy of being alive in and of itself and by the brilliance of actual creation far from any virtual or deconstructed rendition of the same. This is not a morbid thought, but it is a sober view the certitude of which always illuminates the soul and any group of souls to the end that by comparison, all belief, knowledge, and vicarious experience pales in significance against the actual reality of existence and its Creator or even of one’s being whether in this world or any other. Any least poem of Dickinson or Frost celebrates such revelations in light such that in and of themselves, their poetry is capable of illuminating even the darkest midnight hour.

    Yes, the poem defeats itself. It does so because the only sane conclusion any witness can have to any given truth is that so soon as a truth is embraced, it must in turn be abandoned because it is in the nature of this existence that one travels from perfection to perfection with the full knowledge that whatever the perfections possible are of use and benefit only if it is understood that in achieving such a thing one will willingly be freed from that same achievement in order to pursue a thing that is ever and always greater than what was sought or thought attractive in the first place. What possible progress can otherwise be achieved beyond the tyranny of what is thought to be a success? Who worships God cannot worship himself at the same time since of course, by default, there is only one God and all any one of us can do is bear witness to that fact and all of us are servants to that same God. Anything less than this introduces the occasion of the beginning of perversity. It is as The Báb declared, “Say, God shall of a truth cause your hearts to be given to perversity if ye fail to recognize Him Whom God shall make manifest; but if ye do recognize Him God shall banish perversity from your hearts…” [Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 147] Of course, all of this is easy enough to recognise for the intellect, if one is so inclined to do so, but the living of such a thought is another matter.

    My sonnet could hardly do otherwise than to contradict itself in its attempt to focus on what is ever so right and altogether wrong with anyone’s perception including my own of what is and is not the purpose of life or what is or is not the truth concerning what is a transitory existence in this particular world at best. At its worst, existence, itself all is blackest night and only lightly tolerable to most souls that I know such that in such a setting, especially in winter, who would not prefer the warmth and comfort, not to mention, the intimacy of an inviting fire at the hearth above the generalised mayhem of rush hour of the mornings and the automotive herding in the afternoons beneath a sun that seems to equalise everyone on the interstates and elevated highways in what is, after all, a traffic jam no matter in what direction? Even for holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is beyond me how anyone arrives at his destination with any energy left to celebrate the joy of reunion after having been subjected to the ordeal of travel by whatever the route and in whatever the mode of transportation. Unless one’s work is worship, what other conclusion can there be but frustration in the transit hours from the home to work and back again?

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Himself, declared in no uncertain terms: “Know that the conditions of existence are limited to the conditions of servitude, of prophethood, and of Deity, but the divine and the contingent perfections are unlimited,” and since I am neither a prophet nor God, Himself, what, other than servitude can be left to me to accomplish in this world no matter who I am or to whom it may be that witnesses anything I do. He continues, “When you reflect deeply, you discover that also outwardly the perfections of existence are also unlimited, for you cannot find a being so perfect that you cannot imagine a superior one. For example, you cannot see a ruby in the mineral kingdom, a rose in the vegetable kingdom, or a nightingale in the animal kingdom, without imagining that there might be better specimens. As the divine bounties are endless, so human perfections are endless. If it were possible to reach a limit of perfection, then one of the realities of the beings might reach the condition of being independent of God, and the contingent might attain to the condition of the absolute. But for every being there is a point which it cannot overpass; that is to say, he who is in the condition of servitude, however far he may progress in gaining limitless perfections, will never reach the condition of Deity. It is the same with the other beings: a mineral, however far it may progress in the mineral kingdom, cannot gain the vegetable power; also in a flower, however far it may progress in the vegetable kingdom, no power of the senses will appear. So this silver mineral cannot gain hearing or sight; it can only improve in its own condition, and become a perfect mineral, but it cannot acquire the power of growth, or the power of sensation, or attain to life; it can only progress in its own condition.” ―Bahá’í World Faith, pp. 328-329

    This short long answer to the question you posed [as you won’t to do almost always] could extend for pages and pages, but the gist of the generalised “bottom line” is that the poem contradicts itself as you noticed and it does so on purpose insofar as were it not so, it would deliver something less than the truth; as it stands, it can only be the hope of any writer of any work that he express something greater than the sum of the parts of whatever he has expressed.

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