Trade Burdens

Put your shoes to one side,
Turn around
Open your eyes
Then remove the blindfold
Really open them
What can you see?
Is it a pretty picture
One you would hang
On a bedroom wall
To gaze upon
Each broken dawn
Or one you would bury
Deep in an album
Kept in a box
Under the bed
Dusty with disuse
Only to see the light
When grandkids visit
At some idyllic future time
Of tolerance and teaching
That is yet to come
And may never happen?
Truth be told
It doesn’t matter.
Whatever your vantage point
Gender, skin tone, genetics,
You see things
As you see yourself
And feel excluded
From any grouping
You view as ‘other’.
This is life
(Or something like it)
Your experience
Will not match
That of those ‘others’
Nor theirs, yours.
We are all different
And empathy is not
Experience.
That certain knowledge
Of the unknown,
The unknowable
Could be our strength
But differences also
Divide us
One from the ‘other’.
Those who would understand
Take it further
Try to get closer
To forbidden wisdom
Fail in their attempt
For alas!
We cannot truly
Experience ‘otherness’.
Plato’s cave all over again
Nothing but shadows
Elusive and unfeeling.
We are not all filled
With benign curiosity
Hardly surprising.
For those whose world view
Does not admit equality
It only ends in tears,
Accusations,
Mimicry, farce,
Inappropriate
Cultural appropriation
Labels, stereotypes,
Profiling.
So what do we make of it
This unfathomable ‘otherness’?
Racism, misogyny, xenophobia
Fear of the unknown
Misunderstanding
Embarrassment and even
Murderous hatred.
The persistent among us
Keep picking at scabs
So old wounds fester
To the point of eruption
Irritated by irrational isolationists
Lodestone
To the bitter iron
Of bad blood
Drawing down ire like
Hera in her lousy marriage
Choreographed blame
Detracting from the culpable
To the scapegoat.
Bringing forth bolts
Of heavenly fire
Raining misery
Down upon us
All mere mortals
And still we stand divided
Our own ugliness comes to the fore
Humans racing
Competing for each burden
Losing face and patience
Fraying, unhappy peace
As we ignore our ignorance
Setting aside compassion
For righteous bigotry
Small-minded acts of defiance
Banner waving, street fighting.
Fail Army?
Too bloody right!

 

A Little Number

Before I was born
Just a twinkle
In the universe
Of possibilities

Reflected in eyes
Both bluest grey
And olive green
Did you know me?

Or was the I of me
And mine all one to you?
My seedling promised,
But unplanned

Was a meeting of
Hearts and minds
Foretold in song
To bardic strains

Or merely Cast
Upon the plain and
Simple lines
That sprang and pranced

This two-fold dance
Of fire and ice
Your foreign couplings
Kept apart

By Mother Earth
Who did not dream
Of feelings torn
From the widening

Womb-like walls
And shallow shores
Of an underground
Kingdom

Nuts and Colonels
Carried away
With crowns of pine,
From slender hopes

To careful, caring
Tender traps in
Wadded cotton
Whose snoring sheets

Wedded Pluto’s
Darker dreams to
Persephone’s Oblivion
Before there was me

Of Shadows and Consequence

Magic and mystery, people do say
Cannot be ‘stood in a year and a day
For reason is hardly a weapon that’s fit
To dig a deep hole – reach the bottom of it.
So first you must study some musty old tomes,
Learn spells without cause, try to rattle the bones.
A sortilege-seeker next you will become
With the bang of a gong and a meditate-hum.
You’ll start to see spirits, and hear things at night.
Some voices bring comfort, yet others, a fright.
But never again will you fancy yourself
To be home all alone with the books on the shelf.
And if it’s a mastery that you would seek,
Hear ye this now, heed the warning I speak!
For Pandora, though ever a curious piece
Once open’d, found never again would know peace.
Her conjuror’s box, though enticing at first
Then took on the weight of a burden, a curse.
But knowledge is power, I hear you declaim,
Please listen, sit down while I try to explain.
Once started upon the path you would rush down
It will not be possible to turn around
So be very sure that you’ve made up your mind
Or you may not enjoy what it is that you find.

Some questions are not meant to be asked

When I was but a little lamb
I rarely pondered why I am.
And yet as now my whiskers grow
I wonder, do I want to know?
Philosophers do quite a bit
Of reasoning on this subject…
Perhaps it’s better left alone
The answer to me’s an unknown.
We humans are a curious lot
And choose to prod more oft than not
At puzzles plagueing to our mind
Not fearing what we seek to find
And rarely pausing in our quest
To ask if knowing why is best?
Some things are meant as mystery
Still others, such as we can’t see
Or comprehend, though try we might
To find solutions to our plight.
Yet knowing not as I do now
Is lesser agony somehow
Than understanding finally
What little point there is to me.