Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Running the Gauntlet OR The Undefeated

As it deepens, despair takes us into the very heart of human darkness. There may well be a pin-prick of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but sometimes it is but a blur. Yet, if we can manage to focus even for just an instant, the blur becomes a lantern that will guide us back into the daylight and sunshine of what we laughingly call ‘normal’ life.

I made this journey in my early 30’s (I am 70 now) and it is the closest I have ever come to experiencing an epiphany.  Where I had never found any comfort or inspiration in religion, a drowning mind and body  sensed and reached for a spirituality in the nature of all things reassuring me that Earth Mother had not given up on me and I must not give up on myself.


Eyes glowing in a premature darkness
like cat’s eyes on a loping highway in a storm,
padding its way with stealth and guile,
brushing giant leaf and fern in Brobdingnag
concrete jungle spread all around;
wings of steel pitted against natural instinct;
dirt tracks strewn with primeval litter,
secret paths to Earth Mother’s hand written
poetry and prose

Hear the lion roar, rearing and pawing
at the sky, unbowed by heaven’s wary eye;
flashes like daggers at Caesar’s back,
taking the Beast through its paces till it drops;
apes swinging here and there,
mock a weary lion but taking care to steer
well clear, avoiding confrontation
else a feast of claws devour even salvation,
torn pages of Darwin

Ah, but let the Beast rest while it may;
hunters and hunted will find each other out
soon enough, about to discover
what (if any) creature can match us
eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
and for whom the wind composes a eulogy
where darkest poetry and prose read,
old gods (and new) mocking our inability
to understand a word

Tunnel caving in, barely a pin-prick of light;
human spirit, running the gauntlet...

Copyright R. N. Taber 2004; 2016

[Note: Revised (2016) from an earlier version that appears under the title ‘Heart of Darkness’ in 1st eds of The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

No comments :