You’ve come because you want to learn what’s coming; You hope to dodge a blow or cheat a blight. You hear the drone of distant drummers drumming, And wish to circumvent a nasty fight.
A fear has blurred your thought, you feel alone. Like many gallant men, you’ve lost your mooring, Forgotten things that once you’ve deeply known. (From where you sit, they’re hardly reassuring.)
The sybil’s work is not to help you hide; Your destiny, we know, is to be bold. You’ll neither fight the future nor evade it; You’ll co-create with allies far and wide. The outcome in advance cannot be told— You won’t know destiny until you’ve made it.
The leaders never want us to unite Our squabbles leave them firmly in control. Defending each his independent soul, We miss the opportunity to fight Collectively, each for the good of all. We isolate, behind a private wall And squander our consolidated might. Then fear triumphs, we panic and take flight.
The dread of death is man’s Achilles heel. Confused, we’re easy prey when we’re afraid. The remedy needs discipline and grace. Surrender to this truth: all flesh must fade; But, seeking self within, we find a place That knows it’s our collective soul that’s real.
It’s true that anger clouds your thought when most You need the clarity to gauge a plan. Those who have natural self-possession can Effect the most appropriate riposte.
But anger has its place and it can teach us: What is unacceptable in our sight? For what cause are we energized to fight? It’s through our passion, awareness may reach us.
Most useful is rage on behalf of others; Most dangerous is umbrage at a slight. You are the least unfortunate of men! Your anger only finds its target when Invoked in defense of less privileged brothers. None can stop the warrior whose cause is right.
At the beginning of this text, the moon enters the narrator’s body so as to become coextensive with his physical form. He asks,
Why are there dark areas on the moon?
She smiled a little, then she said: “If mortals’
opinion therein errs, where key of sense
unlocketh not, surely the shafts of wonder
ought not to pierce thee now; for thou perceivest
that short are Reason’s wings, when following sense.
But tell me what thou think’st thereof thyself.”
This from a time when scientific reasoning found a natural place in poetry.
And I: “What seems to us diverse up here,
is caused, I think, by bodies thin and dense.”
And she: “Thou ’lt surely see that thy belief
is sunk in error, if but well thou heed
the arguments I’ll now oppose to it.
Then, out of nowhere, sudden certainty;
A confident conviction fills the air.
You had been hanging back, but now you dare
To take decisive action; you feel free,
Though sensing you could do no differently.
Your gait embodies unselfconscious flare,
That naturally the others want to share,
They join in eager unanimity.
In time is metamorphosis compressed.
A line divides the future from the past,
As past the river’s rambling you can see
An occult energy there manifest;
And all the universe erupts in vast,