The Great Unknown

It’s not so much the great unknown
that gives me pause and food for thought.
The universe may hide itself
as it sees fit, and choose to show
what tiny bits my mind can grasp
according to some private plan.
No, what’s out there, the mystery,
is not what keeps me up at night.

What keeps me wondering, late at night,
is that part we regard as known:
the “noble” truths, the pieces, parts,
that over centuries have grown
like sand caught in an oyster’s shell
into some grand and lustrous pearl,
its surface easy on the eye,
its core an irritating grain.

How plainly wrought, self-evident,
appears the thousand year old pearl;
but knowledge doesn’t grow like that.
It starts with sand, that’s clear enough,
but different forces coat the wound;
and their own interests, or designs,
small nudges, bumps, missteps or lies,
change truth’s shape and blur its flaws.

There’s the rub: the hidden flaws.
If what we know, or think is known,
is based on endless, unseen lies
that piled together seem a whole
beyond reproach, what do we know?
How much, in our experience,
is quite that easy to achieve?
What ageless lies do I believe?

It hangs there, like a house of cards;
One dares not touch it, or to breathe.
A single whisper, just one word
could rock to rubble the whole world;
well, what we care to name the world:
the tiny, weak facade we make.
Perhaps that’s why they bind the hands,
and cut the tongue out, at the stake.

09 DEC 2010

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