Treasure Island

Richard St. Clair

(1946 / Jamestown, North Dakota)

Sestina: Revolution, Resolution, Revelation


Knowledge sweeps our mysteries away,
Disproves attractive theories left and right;
It undermines the grounds for firm belief,
Impoverishes the visions and the dreams,
Deflates pretense, cuts arrogance to size,
And tempts us deeper into all these vices.

I cannot think of any better vices
Than those which carry ignorance away,
Confounding fraudulence of any size
And bigotry of any shape. How right
It is that we should reach for sweeter dreams
And not be addled by inane belief!

And what is more inane than that belief
Which sanctions, succors and defends the vices
Of the ignorant, perverts the dreams
Of minds which live in fear and run away
From what they need and ought to have by right
And only lack through small ambition’s size?

The restless wishing to ascend should size
Their chances up, examine their belief,
Respect the bounds of reasoned wrong and right,
Rebuke their foibles, minimize their vices,
Sweep their self-defeating pride away
And build fresh schools for climbing to their dreams.

What choices, when informed, our vaunting dreams
Present us with, promethean, with a size
Of vast dimension in their sights. Away,
I say, with rancid obsolete belief!
Risk more, lest we ourselves succumb to vices
By our sloth: To err’s our well-worn right.

And whence evolved our sense of wrong and right?
Not from priests’ hindsight but poets’ dreams,
Which priests condemned as rude unseemly vices.
Our best telescopes can’t take the size
Our universe commands, nor can belief
Purloin the magic knowledge gives away.

Cast not away our far most precious right:
To share our best belief in dreaming dreams
Not limited by size or savage vices.

Submitted: Sunday, March 21, 2010

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