A spectral film that came and went,
In its elusive way gave vent
In some unreal words which meant;
___“I think therefore I am.”
That phantasm only thought it thought;
A vain conception crudely wrought;
___An egotistic sham.
Which brings us up against the fact
By Chunder’s attestation backed –
There is no Substance, Thought, nor Act
___Nothing exists but Brahm.
This quaint contraption here below
Is not a magic shadow show
Where phantom figures come and go,
___As held by old Khayyam.
A show has time and space enough,
But here we only have such stuff
As dreams are made of – mental fluff
___And visionary flam,
Throughout the universal scheme,
Be sure things are not what they seem,
___(To quote a well-known psalm)
They’re only whimsies of a dream
___A transient dream of Brahm.
mandala © Meryl Ann Butler
All through the cycles of the Past
At which Notation stands aghast
He has subsisted, first and last,
___Lone, functionless and calm.
Nothing extraneous can obtrude
Upon his Sabbath quietude,
Or discompose his tranquil mood,
___For nothing is but Brahm.
“The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time’s flowing tide” (to cite
___A Bard of Uncle Sam)
For Time stretched out in aeons dim
To Apprehension’s very rim,
Is insignificant to him
___A Bagetelle to Brahm.
For once in his negation deep,
He somehow chanced to drop asleep;
And through that forty-wings there ran
A flitting dream. So time began—
He dreamed this stellar lens of ours,
Which mocks at telescopic powers
Innumerable suns sublime,
At furious speed yet keeping time!
And so remote that to the eye,
They look like fixtures in the sky,
But that’s a trifle. Round about
A million light-years further out,
The wisps of nebular portend.
Sidereal schemes without an end
And this is no poetic flight
Nor idiotic blatherskite,
___Nor what is termed a cram.
However vast these plans may seem,
They’re only figments of a dream
___A trifling dream of Brahm.
He dreamed our System’s fiery gas
Condensing into solid mass;
And during several billion years,
Evolving planetary spheres.
But take this globe, alone, to prove
How things have moved – or seemed to move.
He dreamed some pulpy form of life:
Mutation slow; and savage strife:
With Nature’s forces all in play,
And Darwin’s system under way;
While bits of hide and tufts of hair
For countless centuries fill’d the air;
And only those were left alive
Whose fitness caused them to survive.
And so, while ocean bottoms rose
To stand awhile as high plateaus
And mountains sank beneath the main,
To rise time after time again:
And rocks were formed, and strata rent
And Polar ice-caps came and went;
And geological ages pass’d
Each an improvement on the last;
And on the wrinkled crust of earth
More decent forms of life had birth;
Man was evolved a product queer;
A breed that it would pay to sheer;
And which it might be safe to say,
Has reached a higher stage today
Since restless generations gone
Have passed a few ideas on.
But, bear in mind, this human race
Diverse in colour, smell, and face;
These off-shoots from the simian stem
The Sons of Japheth and of Shem,
___The progeny of Ham.
With mongrel races that infest
The isles and mainlands, east and west,
___From Chili to Siam,
Are less than ripples in a stream,
They’re only ripples on a dream
___Namely the dream of BRAHM.
Illusion in the very air
(If such an envelope were there);
And things that seem to claim your care
Your Wife, with her untidy hair:
And Grandma, in her easy chair:
___And baby in the pram—
Are all a visionary crew
Which fact need never worry you,
For you’re an apparition too,
___Nothing exists but BRAHM.
Unquestionably, no one knows
The likely period of his doze;
But this we know that when he wakes
We vanish in a brace of shakes;
___Without dismay or qualm.
The earth, the sun, and every star
Shall vanish like the freaks they are;
The corn and oil, the flower and grass,
The fig and vine, shall simply pass,
___The eucalypt and palm:
The microbe small, the ponderous whale;
The greyhound swift, the tardy snail;
___The lion and the lamb;
The sand and granite, quartz and schist,
Shall vanish like a so-called mist
Which the fictitious sun has kiss’d
(Of course they never did exist),
___NOTHING EXISTS BUT BRAHM.
— Joseph Furphy, born this day in 1843
(read the entire poem)