MORE LESSONS … (from gerbil poems)
these beasts at the end of my desk,
these gerbils, my living phylacteries,
busy themselves in front of me, as if to say,
“what is there more than eat, work, sleep, and sex?
what is this talk of symbols in decay?”
a feeling — not much, i agree.
a feeling, and a question:
can we live without myth?
what sustains us,
what enables us to acknowledge the unknown in peace
while working to understand it?
what preserves wonder
without regressing all to mean utility?
will we, have we, become but part of the heap
with which governments play and make war —
puppet-people awaiting a crusade,
ready to do battle for a not so ultimate concern?
is intelligence and aggression to be always coupled?
these forms of midstream uncertainty, irreducible,
while we spin together a destiny
“together in communal nest
there is no question of meaningfulness.
grooming bonds in play and rest,
peace with ordered dominance.”
what is there to reply, to say?
pay the beast, we cannot stay.
we have left the trees, put up walls.
gone the warming fire-ring without,
the tribal whole within.
ascending lord of neoteny,
at home, we yet stand that grassy plain
and cut our path in moving on
Copyright © 1998 John P. Healy