Saturday, April 7, 2012

"The Ideas We Pay For"

Most, like plots of land,
Hope chests, old hair combs,
Ceremonial beads, came free
From our parents. We keep them

Because they came free
From our parents. A few,
We're willing to pay for,
Usually too much, usually

For feeling familiar as
The ones we already own.
A rarer few we fork over
Our lives for, strange

Though they may be, alien
To our patrimony as
They are unsettling. Why?
Can strangeness ever be

A virtue to a human trying
Hard in the human way
To think exactly the one
Right, true valuable thing?

Perhaps only rebels buy
Into such notions only
Because rebellion, however home-grown,
Always needs outsiders' help.

Perhaps the species hit upon
A nice distribution of mass
Conservatism seasoned with fringes
Of radical opportunism

A million, a fifth of a million
Years ago, and so fresh notions
Are themselves deeply conserved
Strategies in our genome.

I, nothing, or at least
Nothing much, which is worse,
Don't think so. We rebel
When we do, which is rarely,

Because we are angels,
We are all on the side of angels
And angels, the best ones, the most
Beautiful, as we know, must rebel.

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