A Miscellany of Verses on Opinion and Conflict

A few verses that are indirectly inspired by reading over some things related to Parmenides earlier. They’re mostly about an unknown Goddess and my (negative) thoughts about social media and free-for-all societal free-fall.

I.

Opinion, like sand, shifts with each touch —
malleable, a struggle to move through.
Its shape has no evenness, no center.
It drives together into collision —
first a kindly orbit, then an inspiral,
and finally the violence of dissolution
from which there is no escaping its hunger.

II.

We carry stories’ afterimages within us.
Who knows how these echoes propagate through
the essence of each ψυχή until they become
violent to see, a cascade of dissonant fire.
Like an oracle, I divine them from words
spoken so freely — angrily — in the agora.
Like a recording, I play back what I see
when fortune lets me have body language.
These are the dim reflections of decisions
made long before our birth — parents, lovers,
some agents so long ago that we do not know
their faces, and yet they torment us still.

III.

Who knows who these ghosts are who yet
grasp fast like something sucking spirit out,
leaving emptiness — that makes you lash out
at those you see to steady yourself in illusion.
What does opinion become, this sand shifting,
responding to each touch by sinking in —
we are so high up on the shore that waves
will never reach to render the sand smooth.
Turn back towards the sea who purifies.
Beyond the waves, your feet will not touch
the murky bottom that casts up mud and sand.
(Yet how frequently, even there, do we slip
into the undertow towards the deep abyss.)

IV.

To which Goddess do we offer incense
when we want blessings against war —
the power of reconciliation and kindness
must be hers, the courage of new peace.
There has been no sleep — men beat shields
at the gates so loud their rhythm pounds
in my skull, a headache splitting me
apart even lacking the stroke of a sword.
This Goddess must come in with charisma
like a woman in her prime walking into
a board room for hard negotiation —
no one will dare to interrupt her,
firm-voiced and powerful in her element,
whose attention holds all with δύναμις
as if the world will rip apart if she
does not bless you with her divine gaze.
She must know the mercuriality of opinion,
this one who dispenses illuminating truth.
To which Goddess do we dedicate this
when her name would shake Earth when
breaking through one’s lips from its power,
each vowel a yawning supernova bursting,
each syllable a singularity coming into being.

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