Captive of the Now

     Captive of the now:
A stranger, an uneasy guest.
     Caught within my Tao:
The limbo-web, my hardest test.

     Stepping out of place,
I hear a different voice than you.
     See a different face
When I look on the high and true.

     I wonder what you see;
Is everything a shattered pane?
     I see eternity:
The universe an open plain

     Or maybe it's a sea
Whose ancient waters churn out fate
     Like tempest-poetry,
Whose primal will is to create.

     I've broken wisdom's bread,
But cannot quench my thirsting heart.
     The path where I am led,
Seems still no further from the start.

     So tell me, what's to hear?
What erudition have you got
     To make my ship appear,
To make me do the things I ought?

     I've fretted far too long,
And clubbed myself with futile scorn.
     Perhaps it's simply wrong,
Believing that in wisdom's born

     The fountain of all being,
The will to live a soaring life.
     The sacred gift of seeing
Is not the act. The shining knife

     Of intellect is not
A key that opens every door.
     The author of the plot
Will not reveal what lies in store.

     This who or what or how
That makes the world revolve in place,
     Commands the heart somehow,
And all our will cannot replace

     A lack of spirit-hunger.
When we are well, we drowse and dream.
     It's only when the thunder
Of woe or longing breaks the scene

     As conquering heroes we rise.
Our valor opens like spring-flowers.
     The yearning spirit flies
And quickly finds its hidden powers.

     Love draws the spirit's bark;
A lack of love makes spirits drift.
     Pain and oppressive dark
Compel a man to cross the rift

     Between the thought and act.
But the heart that lacks for pain or love
     Is like a sail that's slack:
It's owner will just barely move.

     So there it is, my friend.
I stand, a captive of the now.
     I cannot see the end,
Though I am wise, my private Tao

     Is yet a mystery,
And wisdom can't reveal its way.
     What love or pain will be
That moves my heart, I cannot say.

George Chadderdon © 1999