Friday, June 19, 2020

Anabasis of the Anabaptists

The Brittanica defines
An Anabaptist as a

Member of a fringe movement
Within the Reformation

“And spiritual ancestor
Of modern Baptists, Quakers,

And Mennonites.” Hold on there.
A spiritual ancestor?

What even is such a thing?
Ancestors in the spirit.

Ancestors who are spirits.
Spirits who were ancestors

Of spirits still among us.
Cultural inheritance

Through religious tradition,
Ok. We get it. But still.

Maybe Dawkins would have been
Profounder had he named meme

Not to rhyme gene but echo
Something closer to spirit,

Already the word for breath,
By which we speak, and for life

That ensures we’re spirited,
And for strong liquor, addling

Our minds bent on holiness,
And for ghosts, which are spirits.

They regenerate and spread,
Such spiritual ancestors,

Diversify and compete
With each other, on the move

Inland, marching up country,
Invasions that eat eras,

Invasions of the aeons,
Time as a species of time,

Species as kinds of ideas—
Beliefs as strange descendants,

Unaware how deep roots run
Through the dry heart of Utah,

This world that didn’t exist,
This land wholly alien

To spiritual ancestors,
Who’d never recognize them.

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