A Poet Paints a Picture of Himself;
or, Stanzas on Man

Man is a fallen creature, wandering
through the barren, twisted
woods of the earth, tracing
paths across the uncharted landscape
with a heavy gait; the stars above
him matching
his movements, sewing
patterns of constellations
in the convex infinite
space of the primal sky.

Man has cast his gaze of instinctual
irrationality upon the waters
and on the sands and somehow he knows,
looking far off into the sunset
and then down at his feet, that the
rolling tomb
of sailors lost at sea is also the eternal
womb of his own vibrant seed.
man by sea
Is it any wonder why Achilles,
the quintessential Greek warrior searching for glory,
and Odysseus, the flint-sharp journeyer searching for home,
are the archetypal
symbols of man
mythologized into all eternity?

Odysseusand-thesirensbywaterhouse

Man was not made to stand still,
to be land-locked and imprisoned
in the four dull walls of his own making;
man has no lasting recourse to safety
in the physical world because
he has no fixed way to security within.

As countless planets turn
and revolve along the invisible orbits
in their solar systems
with nothing but the frayed wire of gravity
holding them, driving them across the unmanageable
dark continent
of the universe, so man
evolves through his preset number
of years like
a tight-rope walker balancing high above
the ground just below the canopy
of the circus of Life,
in a precarious dance to
the music of Time from
the infant screams of his birth pangs
to his last moments of
whimpering cries and delusional outbursts
as death, the bloodhound, hunts
him down and breaks
his spirit from the flesh.

Man has been given authenticity
in his immeasurable freedom;
he has no one place, for all is his if he so desires,
all things but rest.
Man was not made for peace.

Originally published in The Vein, an online literary magazine, April 2011.

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