Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Force That

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
- Dylan Marlais Thomas, 
"The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drive The Flower" 
* * *
To be fucked is to be removed from yourself. No one can do this to you except you. There is no outside actor that can impose it on you. Truly, truly, truly outside forces can impose a host of limits, a host of pains, a host of unjust acts upon you, upon your life, but the life that thrums in the blood, in the synapses of thought, in the deep well of your soul cannot be touched, cannot be made a slave, cannot be harmed except by your willingness to harm and enslave it.

Truly. Truly. Truly.

This, of course, pre-supposes a soul, and if that is outside your ken then you are so deeply fucked you can wear your ass as a hat.

* * *

It had been a torrent, but it's fury could not be sustained, and the sky settled into a gentle, soaking rain that would turn the ground soft, as if you could feel yourself sinking into it like a stuck wheel. I had been on the road for the better part of 10-12 hours making my way to Louisville. First in my father's car, then on a bus, and now in a cab. I was running away from the collapse of my marriage, but the root cause was running right along with me.

The cabbie was taking me to the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemane where I hoped to restore myself and so be able to restore my marriage. I had no plans other than arriving.

At the time there was a long, pea-gravel drive leading up to a 19th century gatehouse that served as the entrance to the monastery. As we crunched our way slowly up the drive in a grey mid-morning light, the cabbie asked if I wanted to turn around. He'd give me a lift back to Louisville no charge. I thanked him and said, no. I'd come this far, I'd go a bit further. I got out of the cab and got my money out. He asked again if I wanted to go back with him. I again said no. When my hand was on the door to the gatehouse he asked a third time. I just smiled and shook my head. And then he said, "Your choice," and drove off.

When I entered the gatehouse there was no room at the inn for me. I could not stay. People booked rooms there months in advance. I had to leave and my ride just left. The next ride out would be hours away. I had chosen and this was my reward. Except, it truly was my reward. For the first time I had decided to go forward instead of back. The fact it appeared not to work made no difference.

Of course, acts such as that are rewarded in ways you could never imagine and a miracle or two unfolded and I stayed at the Abbey for four days and was given my first lessons in unfucking my life. Lessons I draw on almost 25 years later.

* * *

If you want to unfuck your life, lean into it. Decide. Choose. Act. Stasis is no way to live. In fact it is a type of death because of all the life you are passing up. The force that drives the green fuse is the force of life in you, what Aurelius called logos, what I'll call soul, what can be called spirit, but by any name the fact you live means there is an animating force pulsing through you. Join it. Learn its unique expression and pulse and thrum along with it. Do that and you are unfucked no matter what happens outside. The fact that you will die one day does not relieve you of the requirement to live until then.

* * *

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.


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