Not Much of Everything

What is belief except a means to reach
beyond the limits safe within our grasp
to learn from the unknown what it may teach?
If in that fertile darkness, courage fails,
as well as our illusions of defense,
what is there but belief until night pales?

Can faith alone provide, as some suppose,
sufficient armor against what we fear:
a deep pervading loneliness that grows
with every hour, behind our cheerful smiles;
a nagging doubt that we are each alone;
that substance fails, and there are merely styles?

It is belief that is our mooring rock:
the tenets that we hold as true and sure,
that mark us individuals, and shock
those who either grasp at fashion’s whims,
or sip from here or there, like butterflies;
the book of life we choose to read, not skim.

But separate belief from life, and it becomes
a rigid set of chains that bind the soul,
that does not fuel, but instead starts to numb
the senses to the underlying truth:
that what we see is only a small part,
akin to how old age is known to youth:

A lantern in the dark, but not the light;
a drop of canteen water, not the spring;
a packet of dry crackers, but not grain;
a piece, not very much, of everything.

18 OCT 2005

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