Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Hellish Poker Game

The theme of tonight is the spirituality of the wind and cold – which might be a tough one to swallow, a hard thing to imagine after the beautiful day we had today, and the practically balmy weather we’ve had for the past three days, and really, the sort of global-warming winter we’ve had.

There’s something incredibly simple about a cold
Biting wind. One moment the day is clear and seems
Even warm, in comparison, and the next moment the wind
Takes you by surprise, cutting through your sweater,
Attacking your exposed neck, bringing tears to your eyes.

And yet, what is it? It’s just air. It’s just high and low
Pressure striving for balance. It’s just this one little thing
That has no feelings, no intentions, no hope that it didn’t
Bother you too much just now when it blew past and made
You wish you hadn’t left the coffee shop after all.
The wind has no desire for revenge, even though
We curse it, stepping out, our bare fingers suddenly aching
For the cold as we fumble with keys.

The wind is simple. It does not care.
It does not mean to, but it can affect us profoundly
Freezing skin, chilling our inner fire, driving us to seek shelter.
We cancel schools, rearrange our schedules,
Find ourselves shocked or angry or resentful
Because it bites, so. Because of the wind.

If only we could have a conference call with the wind,
Or maybe catch it online sometime, and drag it into a chat.
I can hear what might be said even now:
Excuse me, I hate to be picky, but there are just one or two things.
I know it’s part of your job, and please understand that I respect that,
But do you have any idea what a pain you can be?
It’s one thing to have a nice summer breeze, especially in the evening.
It’s one thing to have a nice wind off the water – we bring an extra layer
And smile into it. But could we discuss your windchill?
It’s rather uncomfortable, and really – is it strictly necessary?
I’m not talking all the time, of course, but maybe just those
Below Zero days – could we have those without the wind?
That’s not too much to ask, surely?

And what, I wonder, would the wind reply?
Why do you seek to change me?
I am doing what I am meant to do.
Perhaps, if I may be so bold as to suggest it,
The change you seek is your own.
I am the same breeze you exalt in the summer
And curse in the winter. My effect is the same.

And then the wind gets called away from the phone,
Pulled away from the keyboard. It seemed so clear
There was more to say, but it remains unsaid
It remains to us to guess the wisdom.
Or perhaps the wind had really just finished
Left abruptly, as is his way.

And so, I’ll guess the wisdom. Have you ever noticed
How we rant and rail, spending our energy – a limited thing,
Spending our attention, spending ourselves, day after day,
Year after year, generation after generation,
We spend ourselves in an attempt to change the
Unchangeable. Meanwhile, the changeable remains the same
Snickering in the corner as we rail at the wind
As we spend all our energy, knowing that when we turn
To see what the noise was that we wont have any energy left
To challenge the now straight face on the changeable as it stands there
Lying, mimicking eternity, faking us out yet again.

And so we’re left with two columns. Column A seems to have
All the changeable things. Column B seems to have all the
Unchangables. I wonder if we have things in the right column?

I wonder which column poverty goes under. What about corruption?
Where does war fit in? Is war fully entrenched in the unchangeable column,
Ready to fire its missiles at us if we beg to differ? Where is intolerance?

In a perfect world...
“in a perfect world”- what a terrible phrase
It makes it sound like a perfect world isn’t possible
It makes it okay to make choices that do not lead to
A perfect world, if by perfect, we actually mean
And end to war – not through victory, but through reconciliation
An absence of poverty, a lack of corruption, and an
End to intolerance. A perfect world.
But we’re not there yet, perhaps because for too many of us,
War, Poverty, Corruption and Intolerance
Are sitting in the corner, playing poker – poverty always
Looses her shirt and most of her rice – and when they think
We’re not looking, they’re laughing at us
And when we whip around, almost certain we’d just heard a noise
A bump in the night, a moan of a starving child, the murmur of a beggar,
The whine of torpedo, the flick of money changing hands,
When we turn around and peer into the shadow
All we see are the four figures, motionless statues
Carved in marble, enshrined for all eternity –
Or so they should like us to think.
Too bad, some of us just saw Intolerance smirk.

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