Duse drove home the nail that pierced and loosed
What millennia of strophe, Death by declamation
red-napkin, and all praise from the crowd
Couldn’t mine. A truth. Just this –
a mummer with no clear connection to the clay, from which
–Nihilo – New hearts first, like clockwork, burst, and birthed, climb,
These deepling, first shocks stun and freeze. So, fear
establishes the bond that makes of man humanity
and guides the race of men in every mortal heart,
no wiser now, then those, long gone, born, ancient, in the dark.
Back, and away, and back. Fly down, No! Courage, go
beyond the birth, of Christ, past Buddha; Now, look there!
Prometheus huddling smiles and lifts loose fists to prove the spark.
Watch fish grow limbs and stumble toward Divinity’s first glint.
Abandoning without a thought their water-ceilinged Universe
where truth’s not e’en an afterthought. So, wet wick burnt,
You learn alone, my son. Ask Duse… oh, Gone.
So that, in sufferance and in exultation, every human heart,
in time, learns truths too rich for ready revelation to young hearts
– still dancing, as they are, with immortality. Early wisdom shakes
the ground beneath the easy, aped-divinity and perfect rhythm
of the ceaseless dance of young hearts.
Their joy in Being – the only attribute of youth prized beside
the most essential wisdoms of Courageous age.
We start as simulacrum of perfect things;
smooth and glossy shells – we start as icons to ourselves.
Who doubts this small truth? – a youth first dreamt
and wafered forth the Looking-Glass invention.
His simple vain intention to comb a perfect part,
His passport through the frenzy to the gorgeous dance’s heart.
What use, to old hearts, a gadget to look at the skin?
When age and wisdom long ago gave up consideration of it.
Perhaps the final item on a list of personal components.
“Remake me? Then take my wisdom and the physical remembrance of journeys;
every bent bone. Careful! Now my eyes, mind, and my heart.
Oh yes, contain them please, and snugly. Wrap me up in grape leaves
or old paper. Oh, the skin… It’s there? Then that. Why not?
Hearts old, wise and calmly-waiting for what comes,
Pilgrimage done and easily related; oft told;
Content, some joyful; politely greeted; some respected.
Old age has no need of mirrors; but not for want of pride.
An old heart’s mirror is youth, which doesn’t need inventing.
Destined is man, if anything, to see, at most a dim Scrim. (clever trick)
Star-scattered some say: cheap romantics! A mortal eye will see in each
pastoral nighttime sky, star clusters, countless galaxies past
counting, maybe endless; countless crowns o’er diadem;
sliding clockwise, watch them tick.
Then, past everything, dovetailed to infinity, hangs the Scrim.
And, though we care to agree it’s axis tilts toward our calmest meditations,
the wisest know, whatever truth is; a heart on finding it must stay,
for fleeing from the jagged gift of truth begins the sink back to the clay.
Ah, yes, of course, “the ways of God are not intended to be seen.”
“Ah, yes,” and smile. Exhale. Contentment, Peace. I’m sorry, No!
A scrim, no lights behind it; is a cheap curtain and an unused trick.
Perhaps a former Burlesque clown, all eyebrows, in Baum’s old coat,
scrap pretentions masking stained lapels, stands behind it,
hand at the light switch, trembling in the dark.
Not afraid of proving the absence of Divinity,
but feverishly hoping to prevent the ultimate disappointment:
To flick up the lights, and let us stare at Divinity, mercilessly lit,
and it’s only Him; one hand on the switch, the other one waving.
We’d all have a fit.
But no devil’s advocate advocates the Devil.
To doubt the Divine, is to doubt the existence
of anything ‘round the next corner.
I can’t see it. You can’t hear it. We can’t feel it. No theorem establishes it.
It isn’t’ real.
It doesn’t exist?
If it does its an illusion.
So it isn’t reality?
If it is I don’t care for it.
But you might when you see it.
I plan, at that time, not to look.
Well, there’s safety in that; and thus,
A sort of wisdom.
To doubt the unseen, is to doubt our identity
or individual occupancy of one heart.
Walk past thousands upon tens of thousands
and never wonder which is your next lover.
A stranger to them all, the city doesn’t see you and,
as your former future lover watches,
he is tucked into the city as it folds away from you and is gone.
Multiple Universes are speculation, but there are, assuredly, 10 million Manhattans.
And staring at the scrim, that reveals only hints of mass and movement,
and lets us wonder if the massive shadows at play beyond it
are the remnants of a memory of a God once resident; long departed,
or the ultimate Grand-complication; Perpetually unwinding and winding.
In the watch that Albert Einstein had the wisdom ne’er to try to pry.
For he knew the impossibility of it, and the chaos forever inherent
in any attempt to return to the womb for mature secondary inspection.
And knew if he was wrong, and he knew that he could be,
and mankind finally shattered the Crystal,
God would simply fire the clay
And watch every age of men melt and burn to terracotta abstract evidence
of the Maker’s ceaseless creativity; hope no longer, pain no longer, all urges
extinguished. All. Every one. Galileo; you; me. Reduced, with Alexander, Napoleon,
Prometheus, and the whispers of ideas of what might be unique in one heart
Rendered futile from the start.
And every great uniqueness of the recorded epoch, and the possible transfixing
genius of Demosthenes, melted into irony, possibly unique in a sufficient variety of
ways to be displayed alongside other firings,
Of sentimental value to the Collector.
By Sam Heller