Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba

Some things exist to turn perceptions inside out;
their presence tends to shift and rend to shreds the veils
and introduce, in even the most stable minds, some doubt —
by subtlety reminding pristine saints of crucifixion’s nails.

Despite all valiant efforts to resist the twist of time
that folds and spindles all the distance one has come,
in just a moment’s span the truth becomes much less sublime,
and the most eloquent tongues are left wordless and dumb;

while back in chasms of the tortured past
the mind is thrown like Christians to the raving beasts.
In just a fateful second the losing die is cast,
making the future, risked, become the very least

of measures to describe the scope of hope and life;
and in those frenzied fragments, when belief
has turned against the back of faith its traitor’s knife,
its mad aggression finding no escape route or relief,

the helplessness of childhood sinks upon the soul
and one is left to wonder how, at almost forty years,
the palimpsest illusion built up of great self-control
can vanish in a few seconds leaving only bitter tears.

From some things that wear old familiar masks
an energy of entropy and chaos seems to engulf and drown;
seeking to remind us as we struggle at life’s tasks
that to see us as we used to be, some will want to bring us down.

14 MAY 2004

“As Elba taught Napoleon, all men ARE islands; some are just in better climates.” — John Litzenberg, from The Secret Undertown Ministry

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