“Well It’s Simple, Really”

“Well It’s Simple, Really”

Well it’s simple, really: so to speak
I fall apart, I flounder in so much joy.
I’m not built for it; I’m not much for alloys–
I wish I were–I’ve tried. Attractions leak
Through me, and leave their scars on skin
Worn bare, leather turned to suede. I do not simply move. It’s not enough.
I’m never satisfied. as former hours like blossoms grow limp, calloused, rough
Anointed witnesses to the simile in every mile, yet from an ounce the hue
Of every gallon, maybe two, renders so little sign of significance or change
Within. I feel impervious to accolades and golden cords in plaited bands
About the two of us together with all the others ranked in rows. Demands
And idols claim much too much
within a pantheon of measured idols, a finite range
For what they’re worth. Encountered stations
preoccupy the space reserved in niches neatly all along the way
And all proclaim the prophesy and warning, “You know I may not last the day.”
I turn to trees and shrubs, and pleasure in nature’s liquid sounds
To soothe a wearied heart, neglect my own, and willingly ignore what’s left.
I know what’s out of sight, and neglecting all the disconnected dots bereft
Of solid form; I seek solace in the memory of what I’ve found
In the constants of so many wondrous ancient signs,
words and phrases in the books
Of men and gentle giants in their genius that
short of Scripture, Itself, may numb the mind
To beauty’s sympathies and preemptive empathies I only thought I had. I find
No time to hunt for treasure in the skies or nuggets in a brook
Or in the daily stream of all that is what follows merely in a dream, the broad,
Embolden strokes of changeless mortal ties to lives of muted hues
And dim-lit histories made ephemeral through the subtle clues
Extracted from the manuscripts of dessert caves
and catalogues promptly trod
Asunder in the gilded hubris of modern interests and disingenuous plans
To brick the yellow path with castles built on nothing more than sand.

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6 responses to ““Well It’s Simple, Really”

  1. Dear John,

    I like all your poetry…

    I’ve been going through rough times–expanding my broken heart and hanging onto the rim of the wheel called pre-publication promotion…

    There are days I feel like a traitor to your work; or, at least, a slacker for not giving it more of my attention…

    What I feel is just short of guilt. Is there a word for that??

  2. Alexander: Alláh-u-Abhá!

    I have suspected, “felt” right “straight through the air” that you have been under an enormous strain lately not the least sources of which are the looming “due date” for your book, the passing of a friend, and if you have been following the news at all, the presently awesome display of the power of God in reducing so many nations to their knees in the past weeks and months. With so much pain in this world, it is not surprising that even though we know the source of all of greater and lesser pains of humanity at present, It is obvious that the process of the gradual emergence of the Lesser Peace can hardly be called painless and knowing about its Source and the direction of the immediate forces at play with the complete decay and crumbling of the Old World Order while allowing for less confusion on our part, still must be endured by every believer in God.

    Aside from all this, Alexander, is that I have sensed that you must be going through the same draining and distracted feeling that I am; after all, we are both Bahá’í, and so how could it be otherwise. In short, you are not alone, and during the past week or so, I have had it firmly in mind that you must be experiencing pressures that take away the freedom to “keep up” with communications with just about anyone you know due to whatever it is we are about.

    Frankly, from what I know of the Written Testimony of the Centres of our Faith, increasingly in this portion of history that we occupy, there is a certain “martyrdom” in the very core of any Bahá’í life. The most difficult thing on earth to accomplish is the acceptance of the Manifestation and His Revelation; with that in mind, every Bahá’í is precious and should be acknowledged as such. Of course, if there is no such thing as a “free lunch,” it follows that the mere act of being a Bahá’í, accepting God’s Most Holy Manifestation and then putting into practice whatever He has revealed within His Word, must by definition hardly be referred to as a gift without what ramifications must necessarily be there for all of us. Being held prisoner in Iran is the lot of many in Iran these days [just as it has always been] is one thing, related to physical martyrdom as it is; the mental strain and striving of life here in the West in Ohio or Québec, are assured is no less a form of martyrdom. Again, in short, what you have accomplished already in life might well be the envy of the world at large if the reality of the acceptance of Bahá’ulláh could be seen by the many with the eyes of of God or Bahá’ulláh. I have the feeling we often forget what a wondrous thing we have already achieved in 1.) remaining in life rather than having committed suicide given the weight that any of us bear, and, 2.) that we have attained to the Door of His Gate while the greater and overwhelming majority of souls has what appears to be so little desire to come to grips with the reason for which all of us have been created:

    “And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warning of our beloved Master, who in particular during the concluding years of His Mission on earth, laid stress on the severe mental tests that would inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West… tests that would purge, purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.

    “Ours then is the duty and privilege to labour, by day, by night, amidst the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our fellow-man, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interests, open their eyes to the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.” ―From a letter written by Shoghi Effendi to the believers in Australia and New Zealand, 1923-1957, pp. 1-2, Lights of Guidance, p. 135

    I truly knew that you might well be overwhelmed at present, enough so that it might well be that you simply haven’t felt like communicating. This was perfectly obvious. Besides, there is no real requirement to react in writing to what I write.

    I have been praying for you and that there be some solace in year heart to allay whatever the difficulties that seem to increase as you shoot for whatever the deadlines you may have for the publishing of your book. [I have begun reading Notes from An Alien, by the way, and as I read, I will be sending you notes taken from the reading of it. In the meantime, I want you to know that I am not expecting reactions to my work but of course, your comments are always interesting and thought-provoking, not to mention encouraging.

    The following statement comes from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It was sent to me recently by a Bahá’í in my Community; I will have to get her source on this writing, but it enunciates something of what seems have got me through the last weeks and months:

    “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!

    In that cry, are all the cries of the universe sounded, and the chord of the divine reality struck. The shout of “Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá!” in this day of its birth is more profit unto thee than all knowledge of the sciences and all the wealth of the earth. It is the rhythm of progress, the chord of creation, the melody of eternity, and the password to the Kingdom of God. Therefore, use it to establish thyself in the realm of Divine Trust. Speak it in thy solitude, cry it in thy joy, murmur it in thy grief, and chant it in thy weakest moments, and it shall give thee strength. It is the cry that brings the Supreme Concourse to the door of thy life, and stations the Love of Abhá above thy soul of trust. It opens the heavens of mysteries, colours the riddles of life. It absorbs all, encircles all, includes all. The words of that phrase, “O Glory of God” is to sing in harmony to the Supreme Concourse of songs, and harmonize thyself with the holy I AM in His Court of Divine Omnipotent Truth. It holds all there is of substance, and all there is of form, and all there is of Spirit, and all there is in the world of creative thought. The Greatest Name carries the highest vibrations; the vibrations produce a spiritual word; the vibration of the utterance, either mental or orally, produces a spiritual result, regardless of the thought.”

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

    Prayers; you’re not alone in your feeling,

    John

  3. Thank you for reminding me that just being a Baha’i is a test. I too often take it for “granted”. I also thank you for reminding me that I’m prone to feeling “right ‘straight through the air’” what’s happening in the world-at-large…

    I looked up the last quote and found this: “The Significance of the Greatest Name, beginning ‘Ya Baha’u’l-Abha! The cry that renovates the soul…on that cry are all the cries of the Universe sounded.’ The Research Department has not been able to find, either in English or Persian, such statements attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”
    (The Universal House of Justice, 1992 Sept 27, Authenticity of Some Well-known Prayers)

    However, I did find this one: “”The Greatest Name should be found upon the lips in the first awaking moment of early dawn. It should be fed upon by constant use in daily invocation, in trouble, under opposition, and should be the last word breathed when the head rests upon the pillow at night. It is the name of comfort, protection, happiness, illumination, love and unity. ‘I hope that thou mayest become informed of the concealed mystery and recondite symbol of the stone of the Most Great Name … The use of the Greatest Name and dependence upon it, cause the soul to strip itself of the husks of mortality and to step forth freed, reborn, and new creature…’”
    (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 266)

    Your prayers are deeply appreciated…

  4. Alexander: Alláh-u-Abhá!

    I suspected something of the sort of thing your research came up with concerning that statement of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and since I have not heard from the Bahá’í who sent it to me as to her source, I would imagine that she may well be “informed” by this time and will get back to me in about it in time. For both of us [sooner or later] my thanks for the correction. Having said that, that statement you sent from Lights of Guidance confirms the intention of my having sent the first one to you. Alexander, everywhere I look at present, I see something of confirmation that now, more than at any previous period of time in my life, the signs of the result of the negligence of mankind toward its Creator and the refusal to wean ourselves away from the shackles of a bankrupt mentality and morality. It is now apparent everywhere that He means business and that the “business as usual” attitude of most when it comes to responsibility in living both to our Creator and to humanity as a whole has brought at last a kind of malaise the likes of which I have never seen in so many souls in the whole of my life. I do believe we have entered a time not unlike what used to be featured in the old gospel songs concerning the fact that in the end “there’s no place to hide” for anyone in the face of such collective denial and general loss of both faith and certitude in the many. We have to go on, of course, but it is certain that there is no way not to feel the weightiness of the day and the ever-increasing rise of confirmations of exactly what Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá so clearly stated was coming and would be the end result of the increase of denial and the dying out of faith in every land.

    I will continue to pray for you there insofar as I know the general darkness does have its effects on all of us; I would ask the same for me here. There are, to be sure, some bright spots here and there, but the general impression I have had of the last twelve months has been that there’s a new ballgame in town and one for which some very few are even remotely prepared. There is no gloating in this, no reason to rejoice in either the peoples’ pain or in the confirmation of what we have known was coming, as it is difficult to bear, more difficult than I ever imagined forty years ago when I was first apprised of what we might expect, this sadness that so many have opted for outright denial and solace only in what brings immediate relief in the material world at the expense of all that’s Holy.

    God’s blessings,
    John

  5. Prayers ascending for you, John…

  6. Alláh-u-Abhá! Your prayers would mean much to me, especially now. John

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