The Golden Rule

Truth and Consequences.

If we were to choose a rule of life,
Through the veil of ignorance
Before our birth,
To govern all our days,
Would we choose a Kantian rule,
And make it a golden one?

If we so chose,
(Unknowing of our life’s endowment,
The colour of our blood,
The height or depth at which we stood,
Or the goodness of our fortune),
Would we bet the same amount
On every runner?

Or is this question upside down?
Should we begin in the middle of things,
Knowing all our particular perversities,
blessings, blindnesses
And bent, bowed and stumbling lusts?

If we so chose,
Marred as we are at best
By the normal wounds and sores
Of everyday experience,
Still cringing as we do from scarce remembered blows,
What would move us to place our life’s wager
On winner takes all?

Only hate:
Self hate,
If we see ourselves as losing.
And universal malice
If we are sure we’ll win;
But if we are moved by love,
We’ll have a dollar on every runner
And come home, all, as one.

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It will not Reach…

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Carrion Sea (May 1962, revised 2014)

I, silent dykes about me build,
fenders against the sea.

This bitter sea surges in might,
perpetually moulds the cliff, proud earth,
then softens it, sifts it to sand and sucks its richness.

Cold this deep, compassion not in it, nor pity.

Green-cliffs lurch, then crash against my poor defences,
Beat their fists against my hopes, and die in a smother of foam.

Yet remnants swiftly rush and slide
to catch my feet,
taste unhealing wounds and hound my soul.

White death, thunder death,
throwing itself on sword rocks,
But still climbing, climbs, yet inch by inches, climbs the heap of mourning bones,
to reach its prey: me.

I pray,
Then know,
it will not reach.

 

Life’s Journey

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Journey

I used to climb into my dreams
Of wealth, and power and fame.
Inside their glittering shell I found
Refuge from the pain.

But now I’ve come upon a desert land
The shadow days and darker nights of which
Know not the moon of love’s requiting
Nor even lesser lights of stars.

I cannot dull the ache of ancient wounds.
Rest from questing for an obscure Grail
Is not a grace I have received,
Nor have I caught forgiveness’ scent
On this dark air.

Or so it seems,
Until my lightless eyes
See.
How long a passage I have made.

Sandstone Servant

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A rock engraving of a fish on one of the many flat areas of exposed rock on the sandstone plateau….

Sandstone Service

I am a person of the sandstone country,
first steps here,
last home already chosen in a place I know,
beneath the sandy clay here.

There have been many here before me,
so many years that the rise and fall of the land,
the worn floors of the caves,
the shelly black ground of the campfire shores,
and paths, made by the feet of thousands of witnesses,
tells me of their presence here still.

And the flowers still bloom
in the winter of the Southern Cross,
as it makes its nightly Pole vault,
keeping its ancient watch
over the sleeping plateaus and escarpments,
creeks and gorges,
and over the night creatures,
who only come alive
when the sun is sleeping.

 

 

 

Only Love is Credible

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Love alone is credible

Only love is credible,
all else is imitation;
But love is only for that part of self
That’s given to another
Who is by the giving now a part of self
And so is lovable.

All else is imitation.

God is love, it’s said,
But it is only true if love is God.
The verb to be, you see,
Takes no object.

The little French mechanic
Who thought because he thought, he was,
No doubt could make a Citroen run
But failed objectively with tense and time.
The verb to be, you see,
Has neither cause nor consequence.

We love the God-who-with-us-goes, Emmanuelle,
Rejoicing only in and as the mirror
Of Her joy,
As the given gift delights the giving self
Who in the receiver mirrored, also gets.

The giver and the getter both
In otherseen delight both give and get again,
Bounding and rebounding
In a rhythm that makes old time
Not only run but dance.

That is why we love.