The way you think it is is not
the way it is at all:
We see through a glass darkly;
we barely see beyond the veil.
The doors of our perception dimmed
by dullness of the daily grind
sometimes a chink in the armour of ages
shows us the light within, behind.
There are more things in heaven and earth
and countless earths unknown
than e’er were glimpsed by humankind;
than e’er we conceived since our minds were born.
If birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, what
made fatuous sunbeams toil
to break earth’s sleep at all?
Is it that we die into awakening
Is it that we rise after the fall?
I have no answer to these questions,
thinking only serves to provoke, more and more
but sometimes when I tune out of my thinking
I catch a glimpse of Blake’s immense world of delight
closed by my senses five
What a beautiful depthless dream and mystery
to think, to feel and breathe:
To simply live.
About this poem
Earthweal’s weekly challenge this week called for ‘A Hallowed Moondance,’ which this is not, or at least I don’t think it is. But I’m linking it up nonetheless, as this poem was born out of host Brendan’s recounting of the Oran myth, which I found completely mesmerising. You can read it over at Earthweal. The freshly-exhumed St Oran’s words form the beginning of this poem. Thank you, Brendan, for providing the inspiration.
I have borrowed so many lines from other poems and writings in this patchwork that I’ve italicised them. Here are my citations below:
- ‘Through a glass, darkly.’ 1. Corinthians 13:12 (King James Bible)
- ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.’ William Blake, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. (1793) Aldous Huxley took the phrase ‘The Doors of Perception’ as the title of his 1954 essay about his experiences with mescaline.
- ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.5.174-175. Jorge Luis Borges also wrote a short story called ‘There Are More Things’ about a monster encountered in a labyrinthine house.
- Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar
From Wordsworth’s ‘Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood’ (1804)
- ‘O what made fatuous sunbeams toil/To break earth’s sleep at all?’
From Wilfred Owen, ‘Futility.’ (1918)
- ‘How do you know but every bird
that cuts the airy way
Is an immense world of delight,
closed by your senses five?’
William Blake, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
I will also be linking to dVerse Open Link Night/Open Mic Night, where we will be reading our poems this evening. I hope to see you there!