Tuesday, October 25, 2016

As Far From This World As This World Gets

In contests between earth, sea, and sky,
We tend to prefer the sky. Marduk
Vanquishes Tiamat, Teshub kills
Illuyanka in a comeback win,
YHWH fishes for Leviathan,
Zeus mutilates Typhon, buries him
Under mountains, volcano monster.
Still a lot of lightning and fighting
Goes on; monsters never really die

Because of course they are not alive,
Nor the sky. Our immortality
Beliefs stem from attaching lifelike
Agency to the deeper aspects
Of nature, those violent events
That are not living forms, never die.
Gods and monsters, names for winds and waves,
Earthquakes, volcanos, dragon-haunted
Caves, tell us, breathless, so much happens

Without parentage, without dying,
Without evolving, a static world
Of constant, recurring turbulence.
Give those orphan phenomena names,
Conflicts, back stories, motivations,
And like all actors they yield drama,
But because they cannot ever quit
They also generate byproduct
Belief in living immortally,

Fighting forever. But why the sky?
Could we not prefer the teeming seas?
Are snakes and eels worse than lightning bolts?
Lights and clouds are richly ominous
As sudden rumblings from underground. 
The sky is emptier than the earth,
And even the lives that float in it
Come to ground. We think we are the sky,
As far from this world as this world gets.

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