Thursday, March 26, 2009

Still More To Do, What I Fear

Hoo Boy! I am one tired critter. Work has hit that gotta get it done phase. We don't have enough time and money but lots of work. I was up and down on ladders at many points, figuring stuff out and moving forward, solving little problems this way and that. Not enough time to write, and now not enough energy. Glad I am woikin the poetry backlog. Both of these poems were written in the early morning, Dec. 16. We were fairly slow back then, and went to full stop right at Christmas. No longer.

There is a full spectrum here. This poem is a favorite of mine in the way it surprised me. I bet it is even true part of the time. This is the human condition. I am not exempt. No exempt ticket in life, one friend says. And it is important to me, because I can't slide very far from the spiritual walk without dire consequences. I really do know how to relax into trashing my life. I must live abnormally if I am to succeed, very much like a diabetic, or the asthmatic I once was. There is a simple discipline I simply must follow. That would be fine if I always wanted to. Sometimes I really just want a rest. No rest.

Still More To Do

I believe I know,
That I can be serene, clear,
That these poems come
Down holy channels.

I should consider the thought
That poems are my defense,
Even aggression,

Are walls erected against
The ancient voices.


I am not free of fear, but it has shifted, moved into ever subtler crannies. I have made peace with the presence of fear in my life. I know its texture and smell and there are not many surprises in what it demands I do. I learned under its goad back in 1971 that I can do amazing things when I think my life is genuinely at stake. After I got sober I lived with fear's presence in my daily life, waiting for the next thing to show me that getting sober was a joke for me, simply not possible. Going back to living drunk would have destroyed my life, just as the drugs almost did so many years before, and earlier my own inability to grow up (from this the dope actually saved my life) also almost killed me.

After a time sober, I came to realize that I had worn that fear out, it just wasn't true anymore. It was at first a real thing and now it wasn't. That cleared me off and I eventually understood my deeper motivations to be bewilderment and grief, fear for me is derivative of these deeper things. Here I describe the last fear that masks my bewilderment and grief. Strip away this last fear and what is left, total bewilderment and the grief that never ends. That is my personal core.

What I Fear

I am my own ghost,
Ancient, tattered, disturbed, gray,
Skeletal fingers.

I am my own test,
I want multiple choices
Or simple true, false.

But the wind still blows,
Tatters flutter, tear away,
My aching fingers
Can't hold the pen or
Even type these keys

And I fail the test of me.


Having written all that, I shall finish by pointing out that knowing this intimately is not the same as struggling with it. I am not struggling with it. The capacity to be clear about my state has come as the long term work with my inner state bore fruit. I would recommend the work and do not suggest that my personal core is like yours. I tell all these stories, write these poems and they motivate, bubble up from this place or the various covers I can use, like donning clothing. I do not need to give up all my poses and only live at the base of me. In fact most of life will not permit it, and the solutions all involve higher level activity anyway. That is of course part of what I do, hoping that I channel the deeper stuff, all the way down to this core and then past.

But going past the personal core is to begin the impersonal ascent to God.


  1. Yes. I can relate to the grief at the core and the bewilderment.

    Probably why I am so good at detachment:)

    Somewhere in there though I also find relief that at least it is MINE and I'm not still carrying everyone else's too.

    And that it is real. Just sorting through the dross was exhausting and deadly.

    But you know that don't you xx

  2. Thanks Christopher, for writing such stuff.
    Knowing fear intimatly,
    I wish i knew the trick.
    Today the wind blew in another test. I failed again.
    I do struggle with that.
    I watched a beautiful sunset tonight, a gift.(Maybe not so unlike your poems that come to you.)
    It did make me serene.
    Till it starts all over again.:)

  3. Indeed, fear comes in all sorts of guises, more often emerging out of the core of ‘self’.... (I wish to arrive at a place where I no longer struggle with fear but simply ‘know it intimately’)!

  4. "Strip away this last fear and what is left, total bewilderment and the grief that never ends. That is my personal core."


  5. the last couple poems.... wormhole included, were particularly interesting..... just out of curiosity, do you ever appear to others as being in the midst of a Petit Mal?

  6. I'm in the same state at work. It's panic-and-try-to-get-it-all-done-before-Mar-31 time. I wish I had a poetry backlog right now. It would sure come in handy!

  7. {{{Michelle}}}

    Jozien, not my poems so much as when I sit at my music keyboard and listen to the sounds that come out. It is a measure of my lack of serenity, my agitation when I forget to do that.

    Cath, my experience of relief from fear is that you wear it out. If you approach the cessation of fear directly it gets stronger. Commence to outgrow fear, that's what AA's Big Book says.

    Karen, I accept any and all hugs.

    Ghost, No epilepsy in my life that I know of. No epilepsy in my life that I know of. No epilepsy in my life that I know of. What? What was I saying? Oh yes, my mother's half sister was epileptic.

  8. Rachel, You are in my poetic thoughts...



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

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