©2019 Vernon Miles Kerr, vernonmileskerr.com
When first we even noticed
Night’s sparkling, swirling, threatening indictment above us,
Before we watched — beyond our mother’s dangling breasts —
Her carefully animated lips, imparting speech,
We had no word for wonder,
Just hopeless dumbness:
The cat’s curiosity with her self-same mute.
But after mother’s gift-of-tongues
Our pent-up wonder and fear
Of night’s wheeling black canopy,
Burst forth in a torrent,
Into a bottomless pool of one word:
Why the cacophony of the forrest Night
Then the silence, death and devourment of Day?
Why do we die?
And the big question:
Where do we go, then?
The more the words, the more the questions;
Un-answered questions, yielding pain and confusion
Beyond the unrequited yearnings of our dumb past,
Until the answer came in someone’s dream,
Fabricated from the random symbol-juggling of sleep,
But an answer.
An answer good enough —
A palliative solution to the insanity of not knowing:
“Beyond the veil of the now, is an invisible world
Of invisible Powers who wantonly manipulate our reality.”
But these powers could be entreated, the Dreamer said,
With magic words and rituals of smoke and sacrifice,
For a price.
Even better, with the Dreamer’s intervention
The Powers could award eternal life.
Thus a new earthly-power was born;
Not one of muscle and battle-glory,
But one of dictatorship by fear
To whom even the strong and heroic bow:
An ultimate dictator.
But even Shamanic dictators
With pretend solutions
Were to be preferred
To the tyranny of “Why?”
Today, we enlightened have turned our loyalties
From the Shaman’s tricks and prevarications
No more fear.
All questions of unseeable causation answered,
Except one: the big one.
The degree to which it remains unanswered
Is the degree of our continuing collective, confused