[Buddha-l] Confused

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Sun Jun 6 20:34:55 MDT 2010


It does--too bad the email format messes up the poem format. 


I trust this seems somehow to have Buddhist content to others
than me too:


I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what's really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought
impossible but how And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.
The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
- The good not done, the love not given, time Torn off unused -
nor wretchedly because An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never; But at the total
emptiness for ever, The sure extinction that we travel to And
shall be lost in always. Not to be here, Not to be anywhere, And
soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being Can fear a thing
it will not feel, not seeing That this is what we fear - no
sight, no sound, No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think
with, Nothing to love or link with, The anasthetic from which
none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision, A small, unfocused
blur, a standing chill That slows each impulse down to
Most things may never happen: this one will, And realisation of
it rages out In furnace-fear when we are caught without People or
drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave Lets no one off the
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know, Have always known,
know that we can't escape, Yet can't accept. One side will have
to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring In locked-up
offices, and all the uncaring Intricate rented world begins to
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

*Philip Larkin*
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