All the complexities of life, we are told, are the result of the accidental conflation of events and materials in a universe both predictable and random.
Some think that this is all about to change, that we are becoming the masters of our universe. We are on the cusp of becoming gods. If the fools among us would just shut up and fall in line, we would be able to control this molten ball upon which we live, and our scientists could promise us eternal life.
Of course many others disagree. Some peacefully yield to belief in a higher order, others aggressively exercise their views by pursuing violent approaches to control their destiny. In the process we ensure that the universe remains full of surprises.
Poets, meanwhile, do their best to understand the world, and fulfill our roles as scientific artists. We try to put microscopes on life and human emotions. We use words put together like chemical compounds to cathect human thought and restore souls.
It has been a difficult time to do this. There is so much anger poisoning the environment, that it is hard to find the compounds that can bridge the abyss. And that is perhaps the message as we look at ourselves. We are tiny creatures in a universe of infinite dimension. We will never be gods, we are too imperfect to allow this to happen. And we will never have all the answers. All we can do is try not to let our egos overwhelm our perspective. Part of the great gift of life is the mystery. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us like the idea of having some things that are just unknown. We like being surprised. Okay, we don’t like bad surprises, but they are all wrapped up together, and part of the human condition. We fool ourselves to think otherwise.
One thing seems pretty certain. We will all be surprised in the end. Let’s try to get from here to there without expecting everyone to want to travel the same road.
The following poem is a little reminder of man’s journey across this earth and how small a part of it we really are. Shamal is from my book “In the Cat’s Eye” (Snap Screen Press, 2009).
Glenn K. Currie
The storm rolled across the land,
Pushing a wall of sand a thousand feet high.
It carried the remains
Of crusaders and martyrs,
Filling the cracks in the earth
With ancient epoxy.
The lines of living were lost
In the enveloping darkness.
As the wind blended sacred soil
With the sweat of shepherds and kings.
It was a world of the blind,
Each man a wanderer.
When the dust settled,
The moon spread pieces of silver
Upon the burial ground,
And the stars whispered assurances
That nothing had changed.