Tag Archives: entropy

Self-portrait

That's me in the spotlight

Strong walls and empty halls,
rubber bands and hooks, softness;
brick and mortar, blood and bone,
eye and ear and mouth.
There is a left here, but no right
and every up has its down:
a grip, a hold, a lunge, a fall,
tumult in the night.

Smile and tear, laugh and bark,
tomorrow—there’s always tomorrow—
wait and see, hope and more,
little patience and little else.
Me looking at me looking at you
looking at me,
while the heat builds all the greater
from the forgotten whence
to the unknowable hence, on. On.

swril2

Thank you for reading Self-portrait, and please forgive me if you think it pure hubris. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

The photograph is entitled That’s me in the spotlight and was taken at my home in Putnam, CT. For more photography, please visit the Book of Bokeh.

Thank you for reading Self-portrait. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

Photograph, poem and notes © 2014 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2014 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com. The photograph is not licensed for use or reproduction in any way, unless so granted in writing by the copyright owner.

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Closer to you now

The slow steady pace of the slow steady stars,
the mad heady race of the hands ‘round the face
of the clock that first ticked when you were born.
This is the beast that hid in the dark
to chase you and test you and often times best you,
never once ever letting you stop.
Stop.

In the shadows of the flickering candle
the beast stalks you slowly tonight.
The fluttering pulse at your neck,
the gentle rise of your breast,
the heat of your castaway breath…
I am closer to you now
than the blood that flows in your veins.

This poem dates from when I first met my wife. In the intervening years, ”time” is no longer quite the beast it was back then.  As we age we know that we face inevitable decline, but that is the nature of the journey, and it is a wonderful journey for all of that.

The final two lines are based on an Arabic saying, “God is closer to you than your own jugular.”

Thank you for reading Closer to you now. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

john

© 2012 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2012 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

11.23.12

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The warp and woof of creation

From the warp and woof of creation
are we made, you and I. Truly,
I remember it well,
it was then, that then,
that perfect instance
before the smallest slice of hence,
when every tiny bit was hurling into
being and aiming straight for this now—
this now with its cold, cruel lament in the sky.

But what exactly is this sterner stuff
that you and I are made of?
We are the longing that binds us to the whole
and weaves us both from and into
the fabric of our time. See?
Here and now/there and then,
that’s us, screaming at the darksome sky.

For some odd reason I can neither understand nor explain, I spend a lot of time thinking about time. And although I am not a Christian, let me make my point using an often used quote from the Bible: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelations 22:13). Alpha and omega, being the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, represent the beginning of eternity and the end of eternity, i.e. infinity in both directions.

This statement sounds all powerful, and I do believe in the All Powerful God of the Old and New Testaments. But this aspect of God’s Majesty is not based on the fact that God predates time and will be God after time ends. That notion may have worked for an older time, but today I think we can recognize it for the somewhat smoke and mirror truth it is. In fact, with The warp and woof of creation, my point is that I believe we all predate time and we will all exist after it ends.

Time is, no more and no less, a physical dimension of the physical world, and with the three spatial dimensions, comprise the 3D world we live in that progresses forward into the future. But all peoples of all religions who believe in a Deity, by definition of that belief, believe that we are spiritual beings (and, truly, mainly spiritual beings) anchored only, while we are living, in this physical world. Thus, in coming from a spiritual existence we predate time, and when we leave the physical realm we will exist after time. In fact, this goes even deeper: once you are out of time’s clutches, to speak of ‘before’ time ‘or ‘after’ time doesn’t make sense. You are ‘beyond’ time and the past and the present and the future are, as far as they can exist, all one.

And just as equally, I believe that the spiritual part of our love is something we also take with us beyond the grave, beyond time’s ’embrace.’ In fact, what other purpose is the physical world then the spot designed to learn all the spiritual virtues? You certainly don’t take anything else with you when you go. This explains why cherishing love and keeping it lit and holding it aloft is so important.

And finally, I confess that I am very pleased to finally bring The warp and woof of creation to life, and as always I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to your comments. I first drafted it about 15 years ago and just recently found it in an old notebook, long ago abandoned because honestly, while the core idea was there from the start, it was a pretty awful poem then. I hope I have managed to bring it forth now in a way more deserving of its lofty theme. Perhaps doing so now is—how else can I say it—timely?

© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.

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