Thursday, August 19, 2010


Don’t think just now of the trudging forward of thought,

But of the wing-drive of unquestioning affirmation.

It’s summer, you never saw such a blue sky,

And here they are, those white birds with quick wings,

Sweeping over the waves, chattering and plunging,

Their thin beaks snapping, their hard eyes

Happy as little nails

The years to come-this is a promise-

Will grant you ample time

To try the difficult steps in the empire of thought

Where you seek for the shining proofs you think you must have.

But nothing you ever understand will be sweeter, or more binding,

Than this deepest affinity between your eyes and the world.

The flock thickens

Over the rolling, salt brightness. Listen,

Maybe such devotion, in which one holds the world

In the clasp of attention, isn’t the perfect prayer,

But it must be close, for the sorrow, whose name is doubt,

Is thus subdued, and not through the weaponry of reason,

But of pure submission. Tell me, what else

Could beauty be for? And now the tide

Is at its very crown,

The white birds =sprinkle down,

Gathering up the loose silver rising

As if weightless. It isn’t instruction, or parable.

It isn’t for any vanity or ambition

Except for the one allowed, to stay alive.

It’s only a nimble frolic

Over the waves. And you find, for hours,

You cannot even remember the questions

That weigh so in your mind.

I wonder what beauty is for? Why did we evolve with such a close affinity to what is beautiful in this world, or to make things of beauty? I have heard some say we move towards beauty so that we can stand to be in the world. Otherwise the pain and the loss would be too great. Some trigger needs to soothe the aching brain that must hold how harm is all around us, some of it performed by our very words and hands. This leads me to suggest indeed religion, or meditation, or nature walks, or whatever intentional practice you cultivate for the awareness of interconnection, is perhaps an opiate of the masses. We adhere ourselves to faith claims of interdependence so that we know we will always survive and all we see before us continues on in one form or another. Said another way, if we as isolated ego driven individuals never exist, how can we disappear?

Here I spin in the realm of doubt and thought, and right now, I see the sun filtering through the trees in the nearly fall like air. Soon I will be holding a cup of coffee graciously prepared by my hosts, and then have a walk down by Lake Erie before heading to a veterinary clinic to watch how people fumble with their love of birds and their draw towards their beauty. Perhaps my faith is misguided, but I know not what else to do but to submit to these blessings, this merger of life coming to me and through me. I am a tern going fishing.

What do you have faith in? Where do you doubt?

1 comment:

  1. Comment from Meredith Garmon:

    The wing-drive.
    The wing-drive of unquestioning affirmation.
    Where is my wing-drive? And what?
    Would I know a wing-drive if I saw it?


    What is this casting about for a concept of a wing-drive? It is
    only more trudging forward of thought, isn't it?
    Trudging forward steps in the empire of thought, polishing shining proofs, understanding:
    This is wing-drive, too, if we see through it to what it really is,
    which we can't much do unless we also, from time to time, at least,
    drop away the thought and behold, bare of want, the driving wing of our and one another's hearts.