The unexamined life is not worth living


generalised introduction leading to an unqualified/uncategorised epiphany:

Nobody wants to get too introspective
about how difficult it is to clip the nail
of your little toe or the best way to pull on
hosiery so sheer it`s akin to grappling fog.
Likewise the rush at the supermarket
Christmas Eve where checkout staff
forced into13 hour shifts find themselves
overdrawn at the bank of good cheer
just as you get there and the only way
to survive is with headphones which
at least fill your brains up with a noise
of your choice. And maybe the bus is
late or packed and the wind true North
as people in all shapes sizes colours moods
walk to and fro in front of a weird stillness
which is the feeling on the courtesy bench
with the shopping somehow a photograph
of shopping and peoples faces remarkably
fantastic or angelic. The track in the ears
is something dreamed for your own funeral
and even though there is a refusal to examine
the facts of death or simply the knowledge that
things will never be the same again the day
is filled with some extraordinary other thing
so entirely overwhelming it prickles the skin
eyes mouth heart and a moment becomes
another bigger moment becomes a sort of
grounded flying where life or breath is
the best thing since birth was invented.

generalised mythological introduction leading to sideways pondering
 upon love and the particularity of mortality:

Once upon a time being a poet meant more;
they fought causes and ladies swooned etc.
Probably a nice dream if you weren’t in it.
“I was unhappy then I was happy and then
I was unhappy again” say the children of
Coleridge who still exist in secret colonies
living on dead leaves and various whispers.
Broken hearts survive by being born broken
and everything that happens puts points on
your loyalty card say I a child watching
even killers negotiate their own innocence.
Love is really infuriating asking to be let
off loose forgiven prior to misdemeanour
and you can do that or not do that and maybe
it`ll demand both at the same time being
a baby in the world but the oldest living
baby in the world and probably the only
real baby in the world. And I am so in love
with love it behoves me to nurture advance
protect that fuck ugly screaming infant
drawing at the breasts which have become
envelopes black and brute and I want to say
raddled but think that is not it. One day
there will be an evident return to the skin
one was born in touched intimately now
by those paid to do so and maybe a hand
held as the day turns up the volume on a
bird outside the window of a strange room.

introduction of science as mystery; the demise of  particular loving set against the constancy of generalised loving set against the divergence of science and faith:

Philip says scientists are finding patterns
which are maybe the thing of life itself;
it is not so perverse to look for structure
within a fractured mirror. Language
riddles change; it`s the same smashed glass.
There is only so much care a body can do.
I wonder if that man thinks I`m saintly.
I wonder if I`m actually a nasty piece of work
on the one hand wearing his ring and on the other
not even looking. I set alight a lock of hair
that old passport picture took some burning
on the wall by the bin in the precinct
leaving his jaw still there hours later like
even the wind couldn`t be arsed to move it.
Knowledge can never be giving and trying
being some kind of dead luxury like the
handing down of conclusions culled from
controlled experiments in sterile conditions.
Alchemists had the best time of it truly
the place where science and faith met
is where they are bound to meet. After all
we are only just this much of anything.
Steve used to use the `ant on an orange`
analogy. I used to love Steve. I still do
but it is different now like everything.
 
    © Sandra Tappenden 2006