On The Human Condition - Poem by Daniel Brick
"Wanderer, there is no path. There is only the walking."
(Inscription on a monastery wall in Toledo, Spain.)
"Wanderer... " (The Body)
Wanderer, tell me where
you have been, and I will
know who you are. Tell me
where you are going,
and you will be a mystery
to me. What will you say?
Does the past hang over
your path like a broad-brimmed
hat, blocking your sight
of immediate things?
You must practice leaning
backward stretching your neck,
craning your eyes. These gestures
will make the world visible,
even as darkness drops
from the sky, slips through cloud
banks, gets entangled
in the leafless trees
of this low country
and spreads across
the rough ground
like a stalking beast.
I see you are a man
of high country habits:
you move too fast for this clime.
You will arrive too soon
at your destinations, people
won't be ready for you, they
will struggle to find conversation
which suits you. They will spill
precious beverages trying
to serve you. And the premature wine
will lack flavor... But somewhere
on our crowd of citizens, you will find
one dazed denizen who speaks
your language, even with your accents.
It will be a homecoming of sorts
as you share favorite poems
each of you has learned by heart.
When you retire for the night
in a makeshift bed even the blankets
will remind you of your lost homeland.
And the grief you have carried
for days and nights past counting
will fall into the deepest abyss
of sleeping and vanish.
"... There is no path.... "(The Mind)
Knowledge plays tricks
on us: it pretends to be
universal, when it is only
local. It promises happiness
to those who strive to learn,
but its pursuit brings loads
of sorrows the learner must
carry - for how long? But
the mind is cavernous, its
sorrowload is scattered over
the floors of thought, and
the burden lightens over time.
Two types of learners contend
to make their knowledge swell
in relevance: some sit in chairs
or walk under arbored lanes
as they contemplate in silence
the nature of things. Others sit
at desks and in a frenzy of writing
produce page after page of erudite
speculation or dazzling fantasy.
Which is the worthier occupation?
I myself, a mere dilettante beset
on both sides by these passionate
advocates, have sampled both. I conclude:
on odd days writing trumps contemplation.
On even days - Oh, take your pick!
When the South Wind breezes through
our campus on its passage to the sea,
then the writers breathe in its dense
energy, and write passages of amazing
and incandescent wonder. Meanwhile,
those in contemplation breathe the same
charged air, and their thoughts, still
and focused, permeate space and lodge
in minds like mine and we sense
a heightened awareness render us
still and focused. When this mood
of mind fades, we will read
the writers' frenzied words, words, words.
"... There is only the walking."(The Soul)
I am the third speaker. It is my time
to turn time into purpose and purpose
into triumph! Have your heard of this
philosophy? It goes by various names
but its essence never changes. It tells us:
you can do what you will, but first
you must prepare that god within, your s-o-u-l,
to receive its truth from itself. That is
the abundance within that continually
pours its power into body and mind and
MAKES YOU WHOLE... The only sin is
laziness. So stand up, brush the crumbs
from your shirt, grab your cane, and take
the first big step into your future.
And the steps will almost magically
follow one after another, and your body
will assume a gait in sync with the currents
of your mind, energized by the power
of your soul, in the fullness of your being.
And your mantra evermore will be: There is only the walking.
Comments about On The Human Condition by Daniel Brick
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