Monday, March 16, 2009

Rapist's Lament, Go To The Light

On the 11th of December last year, I entered strange spaces, following on yesterday's post, poems written on the 10th of December. So much of my life has big punctuations because I interact with people in very strong ways so often. And yet there is a certain continuity. I am instructed spiritually to enter a compassion that does not erase the whole of the situation even while adding the leavening of compassion to it. But I recall a certain carpenter claiming the high road includes loving enemies and forgiving in unending discipline, never relenting, unrelenting forgiveness, even when upending the established evil. It is in that spirit that this next poem is offered. This character cannot avoid the burden and will pay in this world or some next world. He nonetheless merits mercy and forgiveness because it is only there that there can be some redemption.

Rapist's Lament

I can't let you go.
I would die of total shame.
Don't make me kill you.
Or shall I dominate you?
Shall I tie you to some stake
And dance victory
For your immobility
In my cold dungeon?

I'm attached to you
I hate this, hate me, hate you.
I need power, fame,
Or some other food
To atone for my fallen
Condition. Oh me.
I'm very tired, feel lost,
Why do I feel so alone?


Several years ago now, 1980, I experienced living through the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. What it cost me was not much. I had to climb on my roof and scoop out from my gutters maybe 15 pounds of ash. There were a few people, foolish or not, that were in the thick of it. Folks up in Yakima lost their gutters, some of them, because there was so much ash. Driving got scary in that neck of the woods. Some asthmatics must have had terrible times, but I don't remember hearing much about that. It just stands to reason. That ash, some of it, was talcum powder fine. Closer to the mountain things were way worse. Huge tracts of forest and some people got caught in pyroclastic flows. Spirit Lake was destroyed, and so was Harry Truman and his 16 cats.

On the news was one guy running his camcorder and reporting while he was trying to find his way out of hell. It was a haunting story because he frankly thought he would die but was leaving what he hoped was a record. His handheld camcorder was rocking with his steps and though it was daylight, late in the afternoon of that worst day, all you could see was some light in a notch up ahead, not close. He was breathing really hard while speaking and openly spoke of how he might not make it out. Just chilling. This poem is not exact, not really about Mt. St. Helens, but I couldn't have made this up.

Go To The Light

Don't know if I'll live.
The mountain blew, covered us
With clouds of smoke, ash.
The main flows are somewhere south
I think. I hope we'll get out.
I'm trying this way
Toward the last setting sun
I may ever see.


  1. I still have the ash you sent me from Mount St. Helens around here somewhere.

  2. Good pairing. Everything turns to ash, even for the rapist. Ashes - my posting is about ashes, too. We rise again from ashes, don't we?

  3. Patia, How cool is that? I don't have any saved. It was just a pain to me...rock dust.

    Karen, I have no claims of planning. But this business of synchronic appearance would be amazing if it wasn't so common.

  4. YOur first poem is hard for me. Forgiveness. Is everything forgivable? I am not so sure sometimes, and yet it has to be. I see this from your else is there redemption? But within me and my heart, forgiveness is not always easy to grant.

    There is an interesting novel by Alice Hoffman "Blue Diary" that your poem reminded me of...I read it a long time ago...

    I agree with Karen about the pairing of the poems. The trying to find a way out is so symbolic of paths in life sometimes. And yes, the ashes. Sometimes ashes are the only way to find the way out...

  5. Faith, it is the fundamental lesson of attachment and detachment. I understand the difficulty, we all understand the difficulty. That which you cannot forgive entraps you and holds you tighter than any lover can.

  6. I've always pictured unforgiveness as a hardening agent. The ash solidifies and becomes a rock. The heart does the same. I agree, Christopher, that which we hold to holds us.

  7. Hmmmmm... 'unforgiveness - the thorn in my flesh'... if only I could master the art of forgiveness of self (in particular) then perhaps I would be able to extend it to others... and, the reminder that it (our lives) all ends in 'ashes'... very poignant!

  8. Yes that's very much the thorn. A Course In Miracles is not my cup of tea except in this one thing. They are radical with forgiveness, and point out that the way the world is requires forgiveness at almost every turn if you are to hope for any kind of a spiritual life.

    That's where I got the term "unrelenting forgiveness". They speak to it in their terms of course, not mine.

    I say that right at the start, at the initial bang that neither was big nor banged, right then there was already a flaw, forced by conditions, an imbalance. That means that everything that follows carries a kink in it.

    We are forced then to fail and to submit to failures not our own as a condition of living. In the human realm it carries on through, if you analyze anything that happens beyond the layers where blame seems right (and there are deeper places, always) then you get to this built in falling short that can't be blamed because if you do blame it you blame the universe for being the way it is. That's absurd.

    So we are left with unforgiveness as a strategy that itself fails. For it is part of the universe and carries its own kink. The same can of course be said for forgiveness but it comes out different. Forgiveness comes out different because the universe is either blameless or absurd.

    That's Existentialism 1A. I chose the non-absurd position myself. So do most of us. There are very few true Existentialists around.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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