Saturday, 21 May 2011

They sat this isn't a poem - Kenneth Rextroth (22/12/05 - 6/6/82)

1.

All that is a harmony,
Otherwise it would not endure.
Harmony of the parts with the whole
Is the definition of goodness.
Therefore all that is good.
Man is part of all that is, so
He is part of its harmony.
Therefore he is by nature good.
Insofar as he knows what is,
He knows it because he is
Within himself a harmony
Of parts in a whole, of the same
Kind as all that is. Therefore,
The harmony of all that is
Without man can unite with
The harmony of all that is
Within a man as knowable
Good, an inner moral good.
But if this good is known within
By one party, man, it must
Also be known by the other
Part, All That is hence he who
Is in perfect accord with All
That is can act upon it
Without effect, with a kind
Of reprocity, like acts
Of the mutual love of friends.
How beautiful and specious
And how stinking with the blood
Of wars and crucifixions.

II

The order of the universe
Is only a reflection
Of the human will and reason.
All being is contingent,
No being is self-subsistent.
All objects are moved by others.
No object moves itself.
All beings are caused by others.
No being being is its own cause.
There is no perfect being
Being has no economy.
Entitieis are multiplied
Without necessity. They
Have no sufficient reason.
The only order of nature
Is the orderly relation
Of one person to another.
Non-personal relations
Are by nature chaotic.
Personal relations are
The pattern through which we see
Nature as systematic.
Homer, and all sensible
Men since, have told us again
And again, the universe-
The great principles and forces
That move the world - have order
Only as reflection
Of the courage, loyalty,
Love, and honesty of men.
By themselves they are cruel
And utterly frivolous.
The man who yields to them goes mad,
Kills his child, his wife or friend
And dies in the bloody dust,
Having destoyed the treasured
Labor of other men's hands.
He who outwits them survives
To grow old in his own home.

1956.

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