Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Have Promised You

Oddly, this next poem goes quite well with a comment that Wine & Words left on my last post. When I think about life in general, I have the idea that free will has to be involved. I have seen my cats, for example dither over a decision, and make mistakes, and learn so I know that you have to descend further down the food chain to find life so constrained that that there is no such thing as choice. Actually, watching birds, I get the same assurance. I am not completely sure about flies, but I am about cockroaches. So you have to go further than insects to wipe out all free choice. I am comfortable saying so.

When I look at my own life, however, I get another sense. I have often written here of it. I am a creature of destiny. However I tell the story, whatever is actually true, I feel certainly constrained such that I am more like the river of this poem, turbulent but not flooding, at least not usually. I have lived my whole life under a sense of destiny, but also fully admitting that I have no real clue what that can mean.

I have fashioned a personal myth. I accept it as myth and feel I would be mad to try to reify it further, but have found I cannot live without some explanation. When I found out that “God loves to be used” as Eric Butterworth said, I relaxed quite a bit about such things. It is now my opinion, not that anything goes but that instead the river is amazingly complex within its banks. I also feel secure in that I am protected, constrained within the banks (like my name Noordwal) and that I am certainly connected with the sea.

Thus as a creature of free will, even so, I have to exert major energy, somehow flood myself, in order to actually get lost. Confusion and willful disobedience however are other matters. If I relax and do not continue to resist, I wind up back within my banks. That seems to be my experience.

I am fearful sometimes that if I don’t get it together, I may never recognize my arrivals at all the blessings along the way. Recognizing blessings, the gift of maturity. However, it is obvious the ocean will be unmistakeable. In that sense, I know where I am going, it is not somewhere I chose, and while it is conceivable that I can rebel for a while, it wouldn't be easy to make my rebellion last for long, because it fights a kind of gravity. Only the tides of lunacy lift me :) That is Sun (Sol) warms me, gives me solace in his gravity and Moon (Luna) stirs me with her companion gravity.

I realize this may not be everyone's experience. It is mine. I wrote that I would be mad to try to get this vision further than poetry, to reify it. I would also be mad to deny my experience because I should conform to some dogma about first things.

I Have Promised You

I feel the path move
all on its own, like the flow
of a constrained stream,
turbulent, rushing,
or as if it has its own
will, changing its shape
according to dreams
I do not dream, cannot guess.
I act this way, act
with apparent heart
only as I can, as it seems
possible for me.
The choices are not
mine except as they arise
along the living way.

February 18, 2009 9:28 AM


  1. 'along the living way'

    I like this...


  2. Why not see it all as a blessing instead of demanding of yourself to "recognize your arrivals at all the blessings along the way"? Maybe I am missing your deeper meaning. It shows that you do believe you are on your correct path because you state that "you know where you are going". Not many people can say that.

  3. TB, I do not state that it is all blessing because to me blessing is a mark of something outstanding. It is all a grant, it is all a privilege, it is not all a blessing. If I have to exert myself to see the good in an event that is not a blessing. To me that is a misuse of the term. But I will add that if an event is not a blessing, it may very well be a gift from God even so.

    On of the aims of this life is to take the pig iron I am and temper it into steel. This is a process requiring some kind of heat and some kind of pressure. I doubt I will ever consider that process a blessing, think part of the process is my natural resistance and distaste for it, do not think I am required to say thank you when eff you is more appropriate, do not think that I should ever approach those matters with an understanding that if I was truly spiritual I would like them.

    Hogwash. But. If I get stuck in those attitudes I will fail. This is the nature of a world in which forgiveness is arguably the most important grace, the most telling demonstration of the presence of love. I am placed in the position of forgiving God rather often. This does not surprise me.

  4. So be careful when you ask for God's blessing. He may give it to you. You might need it desperately. You may dislike it so intensely that you will have to work very hard not to hate it. Some stuff turns out like that.

  5. "I can rebel for a while, it wouldn't be easy to make my rebellion last for long, because it fights a kind of gravity."

    My experience exactly.


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

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