Saturday, March 28, 2009

Drummers: A Saturday Poem


To believe in a different set of principles.
We say one person is marching this way
and another, that. The while, our self
lockstep with everywhere it has been,
ever seeing all it has seen, walks.

What does the person distant hear?
Too often mere rumble, echoing
through the trees or against the walls.
As rhythmic as anything they’ve beaten,
surety travels. Conviction and loyalty --
Discord, reeking of tribe.

If civilization means a thing, it involves a
heart loving harmony. An ear hearing
that it cannot produce sound. A mind
knowing that all are equally wrong.
Drummers drumming, not in a different way,
but in an other way.

© Ciprianowords Inc. 2009


Beth said...

If only it were so – if only we were all capable of seeing (and hearing) the world and others in such a way.

Cipriano said...

Yes, Beth.
To me, the most important line of this poem is the one that says A mind / knowing that all are equally wrong.
Not a mind knowing that my way is the right way.
A mind knowing that none of us really know.

What do I [the poet] mean by this?
Well, just for one example, we can look at religion.
The other day at work, I was telling my co-worker about my mom, who recently passed away. [She was a devout Christian]. My co-worker [who is a devout Muslim] got tears in his eyes as I talked about some aspects of my mom's funeral. He began to think of his own mother.
I said I would bring a DVD of a photo-presentation of my mom's life, [we made it for the funeral] and suggested that he and I watch it the next day during our lunch time.
So I did.
We watched it.
It's really a beautifully done piece, set to gorgeous music. Again, his eyes welled-up with tears.
I looked at him and asked him why this was affecting him so.
"Well, your mother, she was such a wonderful woman, and now she is gone... it's sad" he said to me.
Then I said to him... "You know what is a sobering thought though?"
He looked at me as I went on -- "Your religion would have to conclude that my mother, this very woman in the pictures here, is in hell right now."
[He quit eating his sandwich for a bit].
But it's true, that is what is so crazy!
Because my mother was not at all a Muslim, in the orthodox interpretation of his own religion, she would not be in "heaven" but in hell.
It is just profoundly crazy when you really think of it!
But it doesn't end there. This is not something that is crazy about the Muslim religion. It is something that is crazy about every exclusivistic religion, Christianity included.
Because see, if I were an orthodox [fundamentalist] Christian believer, I too would have to conclude that my co-worker's dear mother, [who is a devout Muslim]... I would be forced [doctrinally] to conclude that when she dies, she too would be in hell.... for not having accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior while she was alive.
The absurdity of BOTH religious pronouncements is so bizarre it should not be worthy of consideration.
Yet we must consider it, because in our world, so many people still BELIEVE it!

Different drummers!
We are all a part of a great realm of unknowing.
But how loudly we sometimes beat our drums as if we know!