©Poems of R.F.Mueller- Other Times, Other Thoughts
THE HUMAN CONDITION IS NOT
Not in the Cartesian cogito,
not in Eliot's Cocktail Party,
nor in Ahab's madness,
not in the City of God,
nor in Shakespear's sonnets,
not in Dickens and Dostoyevski,
not in the triumphs of medicine,
the hope of genetic engineering,
nor in Schweitzer's compassion,
not even in the prayers of children.
Conjuror of Galilee, when you
multiplied the fishes why didn't you
multiply their mothers, the cedars of Lebanon,
the desert shrubs already browsed to the roots?
Were you saving the greatest trials for us?
I see again the whirl of crows against the sky
and feel the crumble of earth between my fingers
as my skin cracks in the cold spring air, looking
for the first greens. I think of the silent groves
where nobody goes and of the exhausted hunters
who followed the faintest trails through here.
Long vanished forests of oak and beech,
my father's time came out of the depth of your soils
time to learn arts and crafts, silver bowl and awl,
yet time enough to confuse, to mistake your gifts
for those of alien gods that kept no sacred groves,
with mad prophets promising a heaven of sugary
music and gold pavement
to replace your magic aisles—
banal visions of shrunken-headed dwarfs
impoverished by inherited dreams
of all the human condition never was
and never will be.
Anyone who is attracted to Nature is soon made aware of the oppressiveness of Human culture's rigid framework compared with the ever-nascent reality of the Wild. And very little education is enough to see the preposterousness of both religion's roots and the future it has mapped out for us. Although, as a child, I had been persuaded-perhaps through curiosity- to be an altar boy, I could never wait to be free of everything of a religious nature, and, once home, couldn't be stopped from rapidly stripping off my church clothes for overalls and the muddy wilds of our patch of swamp.