Just Let Me Say This About That (Poem)

 

from the end of John Bricuth’s brilliant poem (the speaker is either God, the President, everybody’s father, or a combination of the three):

I know you’ll laugh at this, my thoughts began
To clear. I had a kind of revelation, Fish,
That burst of level lighting one associates

With several types of Eastern wisdom–
The seven ways, the twelve steps, the four
Tops, the three pigs–I don’t know…

I know it had a number in it, Fox,
And with that blinding flash I knew, boys, nothing
Quite restores the rush of vigor to

The blood, the vital fire along the veins
And in the loins to rein the wild horses
Of desire, that taste of life’s late richness,

Its ultimate bouquet, its sauce supreme
That makes you feel, Fish, you could live forever,
No, nothing quite gives back that special thrill,

Seeing we’re Americans, like going
Out and killing something, something on
Two legs that’s short and foreign, name chock full

Of consonants, or something furred or feathered,
Or failing that, with scales. Fox, don’t you
Find that so? that nothing really beats

The heady moment of sweet contrast when,
To make a phrase, they’re laid out like a lox,
And you are not. And isn’t that when all life’s

Puzzles fit, mysteries fall flat?
Tell me, don’t you find it so, Fox? Fox?
Bird? Fish? Now where did those three go?

The Old Story, A Fake Empire

IT is an old story, a theme too worn for the turning of sentences, and yet too living a moral not to find every day a new point and to break a fresh heart, that our lives are wasted in the pursuit of the impalpable, the search for the impossible and the unmeaning. Neither today nor yesterday, but throughout the whole life of the race, the complaint has gone forth that all is vanity; that the ends for which we live and we die are “mere ideas,” illusions begotten on the brain by the wish of the heart — poor phrases that stir the blood, until experience or reflection for a little, and death for all time, bring with it disenchantment and quiet. Duty for duty’s sake, life for an end beyond sense, honor, and beauty, and love for the invisible — all these are first felt, and then seen to be dream and shadow and unreal vision. And our cry and our desire is for something that will satisfy us, something that we know and do not only think, something that is real and solid, that we can lay hold of and be sure of and that will not change in our hands.

Bradley, Ethical Studies

 

Revelation–M. B. Foster

How then are we to understand Revelation in its relation to thought?  Belief in Revelation is belief that ‘God has spoken’.  What does this mean?  Or rather, what is it to believe it, if to believe involves something more than assent to a factual proposition?  Just as to apprehend God’s Holiness is to repent (‘Now mine eye seeth thee.  Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes’); so belief in a divine Revelation seems to involve something like a repentance in the sphere of the intellect.  Certainly it cannot be meant that we, with an unbroken intellect, are somehow privileged to talk about God.  Talking about God is one of the things which the Bible hardly permits us to do.  When Zechariah says, ‘Be silent all flesh before the Lord’, this is not wholly different from Wittgenstein’s ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent’.  What Wittgenstein seems not to believe is that God has spoken.  But what is it to believe this?  –Mystery and Philosophy

Three Thoughts on Job

From an old notebook:

Job’s confused.  God’s not helping.  God’s making it worse.  So too the comforters.  (Carrion comforters!)  They worsen Job’s confusion.  It’s not bad enough that he’s wrestling confusedly with God; his comforters want to wrestle too:  against Job, for God, as if they were members of a Divine tag-team.

Job speaks out his misery.  What he says is of his pain just because it expresses it.  He is venting his misery more than he is accusing God.  But his comforters will not hear his misery; they hear only the accusing.

Job knows what his comforters know.  He knows the glory and the power of God.  But he knows more than his comforters know.  He knows God’s power and glory in a way that does not deny that power and glory.  Even more, he knows his innocence.  Job knows that God knows it too.  But now it looks like Job knows too much, more anyway than he can bear, for how could a God of such power and glory and knowledge as his tolerate Job’s misery?

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