A Lesson – Half Understood – In Poetics
As I walked, I turned, and saw Apollo beside me.
“Why do you rail against the world?” asked the god,
holding my book of poems in his hand.
“I want to strike, like lightning,
opening men’s minds to the truth.”
“This is pointless,” said the god,
“Men are but the mere implements of God,
and this world will be righted, as necessary
in due time.”
“But that would be bloody, and devastating,” I protested.
“Mortal fool,” chided the god, “abandon your false pride.
It is not for you to direct your kind.
Men are but the many blinks of the eye of God,
and whether one is a drop in the tide of blood
ending one civilization,
or a glint in the flow of honey
at the cresting of another,
it matters not.
I, in my unknowable infinitude
will rewind the spring of time
and replenish the well of knowledge,
to maintain the eternal cycle.”
“But can’t we try to steer our culture to the good?” I pleaded.
The god shook his head with a patient smile,
“Life is given to you,
make the most of it,
achieve what good you can,
but do not attach yourself to prideful dreams;
all of this has come and gone countless times,
and it will cycle uncountably on.
Hew to what endures.”
“In my poems, I seek the essence of God,” I said,
“to present Him so as to touch hearts
and open minds to a greater awareness –
perhaps leading even just one person to greater good.”
Him, Her, It, Them,
The Great Unknowable Void,” instructed the god,
“Thought is to God as a ripple to the ocean,
a leaf to a forest,
the whisper of a breeze to the expanse of sky.
God is immeasurably beyond the confines of mere words and concepts,
and no man can know anything about God
by the word.
Release yourself,” commanded the god.
“Still,” he said as an afterthought,
handing my book to me,
“the effort has merit.”
I blinked, and he was gone.
8 July 2002
Lord Krishna, Disguised as Apollo, Dismisses My Writing
“Parasites neither herd nor flock –
They all have identical aims
yet share no goal in common.
Humans may be the most cannibalistic of parasites.”
Suddenly, he was there, leafing through my book,
muttering an answer to the question floating in my mind,
“Yes, it is a work of genius, too bad.”
“Well, no one will read it.”
ignoring my voice to answer my mind, he continued,
“Men are wedded to their delusions,
they only want to see what conforms to their views,
enlightenment is tenaciously blocked.”
“And women?” I asked.
“Women, too, are deluded,
though, of course, they are wiser than men,
and so, they are oppressed.
Women have less compunction,
their focus is their young,
or the surrogates they adopt when childless.
If you wish to be read,
write what people think,
do not challenge their ignorance.
By elaborating the general delusions,
you will be honored and rewarded;
by exposing them
you will be shunned to invisibility.
The seekers of enlightenment
are disappeared from the world
by the collective defense of popular delusion,
not by a choice to become meditating hermits.
The world is delusional,
and to live in it is to participate in the collective madness.
This is why the world collapses
and periodically must be wiped away.
It is the cycle that endures,
not the phases of delusion that revolve through it.
You can reach enlightenment, but you cannot transmit it.
You feel compassion for some,
because your heart is still mired in the world,
and in your love for these others
you wish to pass on knowledge.
But that, too, is a delusion.
Only they can find their own enlightenment,
which so very few choose to do.
So, ultimately, to awaken
one must release all emotional entanglements –
whether of pride or love.
You cannot save the world, only live in it,
you cannot save your loved ones, only appreciate them,
you cannot save yourself, only awaken.”
10 July 2002