Saturday, October 31, 2020


In humans, at least, every impulse yields
Its opposite, every proffered thesis
Its inevitable antithesis—

You could argue, plausibly, for instance,
That no culture, no people, has ever
Invested more, put more stock in saving

Face, social standing and/as self-respect,
Than have the Han Chinese—and yet, Hanshan,
Zhuangzi, and a variety of fools,

Freaks, and hermits across the centuries,
Some actual, some more or less mythic,
Remain esteemed for their outrageousness.

How is this? Why do we always resist
Exactly that on which we most insist?
Ideas inhabit us and direct us,

But not only do ideologies
Need flywheels to self-regulate or cease
To function coherently—conditions

Of ideas’ existence, so far, remain
Tied to living reefs of hollow bone beads,
These jostling spheres containing human brains,

And brains are animal brains, living flesh,
And the intricate dance of molecules
In the flesh does not answer to ideas

And their evolving cultural empires,
Not wholly, not yet. Desire will push back
And forth within the bounds of self-respect,

And any thesis—any rule, any
Notion, any tradition—not made flesh
Is pure abstraction. Purity is death.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.