Posted by: Peadar Ban | February 8, 2009

We Share A Mystery

We Share A Mystery
(The Feast of the Presentation and my birthday)

Every night the setting sun
Leaves a question on the clouds
Which pass silently, are gone
And night once more shrouds
All beneath stars, within dreams,
Mystery and faint laughter
From the questioner himself
Who will, someday, all cancel.
“How long have I been with you and
Still you do not understand?”
You may ask the questioner
Who provides mystery for answer.
Think on it, contemplate in wonder
Who try to measure the immeasurable.
Who ask,“Is there nothing left at all
Which will lift us out of hell?”
“Nothing,” knowingly they say
Who drink the death of mystery.

There are words of course.
Some of which at our behest
Can serve for moments
To relieve the torments
In which we find ourselves,
For which we lost ourselves;
Debates we may enter
With memory’s center
In which the course
Of eternity’s loss
May be remembered,
Probably lamented
And eventually blamed
On someone else damned.

We share a day and we share a mystery
That isn’t any gnostic thing in the roses or the rings
Of secrets held hidden within the hearts of women
Smiling behind the windows of their stolen eyes
Launching flotillas onto such bloody calm seas
Any onlooker ashore could do away with sacrifice
To insolent unseen Indolences atop blue mountains
For sailors’ safe going out safe coming back again;
A mystery of showings, obligations and release.

We share a modern mystery of assignment
Bureaucratic, no less appropriate for that,
Ordered and prepared; liturgical movements,
Monuments and feasts for days once and future
Shadows continuing behind a cloudlike scrim
And once only days of birth and dark decision;
Occasions of ominous celebrations, teeterings
Between fear and joy that happened and will happen
Receiving and giving what was given and received.
It is plain to see and it is still a bloody mystery.

Across the street in the Marketplace of Ideas
Sacrifice has set up shop, filled the shelves
And windows with his vendibles. While outside
Beside the other shops, stalls and stacks of wares
His son stands with samples of the merchandise
Smiling at the shadows of the custom passing by,
Nodding to the villains and the victims equally
A nod of welcome, recognition, (and regret
Consumer confidence has not recovered yet)
Proffering the “Manual for the Victory over Self”,
On sale here and, now, nowhere else.

“It is a lie damnable, forbidden, dangerous to souls
And they both know it,” say the landlords serving writ
Foreclosing further commerce in such things. Within
A day or so beyond the empty shop will hold nothing
Merely dust. It will be what it was, fragments once
Fragments once more waiting. While light fades and swells
Outside the newest cenotaph in the Marketplace
Rodent companies settle in the pages on the floor.
Ancient roaches feast in luxury on binding paste
Panis angelicus fit panis blatellidae.

A contradiction is taking place
Conformity requires it, history
Must obey the kenotic presence
Arising from the ruinous fall
(Nothing will carry emptiness
Amid cool marble columns in the hall)
To purchase, as if we could,
What we always thought we had.
It is absurdity in the face of fact.
That such humility exists a violation of tact.
“The very one,” the old widow says
And saying finally slips away
To childhood at the end of day.

February 2, 2009


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