Friday, November 25, 2016

Now Let Us Shout Down Xenophanes

He had a particular
Preoccupation with clouds.
Sun, moon, lightning, shooting stars
Were epiphenomena
Of clouds, moving and burning.
He was less impressed with gods.
We say, "few fragments survive,"

As if his words were pieces
Of his living flesh, as if
He, too, were risible god.
We've taken naturalism
And run with it, can forecast
All sorts of weather quite well,
Have even walked on the moon

(Not, it turns out, burning cloud).
But we're still God-besotted
Despite that, sticking fingers
In our ears, stubborn, chanting
Like kids refusing to hear.
Nyah-nyah-nyah! I can't hear you!
Then off we rush for our guns.

Doesn't matter. Matter does
What matter does and we are
More or less, like clouds, matter.
We arise and we dissolve,
And we mutter about it,
Which makes us atypical
Among the life forms we know,

But we're not happy as such.
We run in rings, singing things
Both true and truly nonsense.
Eeny meeny miny mo,
Catch disaster by the toe.
Soon you'll falter. Soon you'll go.
Eeny meeny miny mo.

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