Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bend toward the Devil

The tourists are back on the River,
Another year later, another preacher
Now apologizing for a false prediction
Of the Apocalypse last season,

Other preachers still gearing up
For the end of the world this season,
Presidential campaigns everywhere,
Protests and unrest per usual

Not having deterred these rafters
Floating the rapids around the bend,
Colorfully dressed and shouting,
Waving paddles and beers at doom.

Even one of our more apocalyptic
Neighbors left the valley just last week
For California and a new beginning,
Giving away her emergency rations,

One more paradox exported from Utah,
Home of downwinders and tons
Of hoarded foods in latter-day basements,
Also wonderland of frivolous adventures,

Home for now to me and mine
As I come back from town,
Tootling along the River Road
With groceries in the back,

Full of my own sagacity,
Knowing the world never ends,
Even though I am too stupid
To buy the organic brand of chicken.

I pull over for a moment to stand
A minute in the sand contemplating
The wisdom of me and the rafters,
The foolishness of preachers,

Forgetting the groceries in my genius
As a passage from Mr. Gopnik's
Latest book review floats into mind
And cheering rafters spin in rapids.

"Manichaeanism" he writes,
"Is the natural religion of mankind
And all faiths bend toward the Devil,
To make sense of God's furious impotence."

He further opines that this is why
The hard, fanatic faiths flourish
While the soft, mystical systems
End up buried in the hot sand. Wise.

Standing in the hot sand myself,
I consider the durability of rafters
And preachers and good times
And dark prophecies, sempiternal,

Until I recall the transience of me
And my unrefrigerated groceries.
The death of my civilization
Will not precede me.

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