Truth (a poem)

What is this unstirring nectar,
the gift we beg receiving
a double serpent moving swift,
laurel branches rustling,
the scent of bay awakening,
frankincense oil burning so delicate
as if we inhabit a fractal flower
opening up in vivid stillness
until it flows like that spring
struck by Pegasus for the Mousai
that welled up to make all song.
Is this nectar truth, yet ungraspable,
so mind-tangible and deep-rooted?
It is not malleable to us,
though we may try to harness
patterns to mimic deep-moving roots,
winnowing out excuses to avoid
heat, light, and stillness that cut
in order to heal and come together,
a gift of shedding skin and leaves,
still hours of the year to sleep,
until like that flower it opens,
the offering blazing unburned,
and the mirages we once believed
fade away in the light as shadows.

These verses came to me during and after I was praying to Apollôn this morning, so I decided to share them. They’re a bit rough around the edges.

Because keyword muting isn’t working on Twitter for me and hasn’t for weeks, I’ve been thinking intermittently lately about the Gods and the claims of various groups (all progressive) in friction with one another to truth and divine favor, when in reality the situation is complicated. The way I am thinking about it now after having numerous reactions to things that Proclus was writing in his Parmenides commentary about the points in the system at which things like Sameness and Difference or Likeness and Unlikeness come into conflict with one another, the way truth manifests in matter is similar to light being shoved through a double slit, creating an interference pattern, coming in “conflict” with itself, and it’s only by attempting to reconstruct the path that we know the pattern, the path, and the source itself. It’s admittedly just a heavier rephrasing of what we all already know, that the needs of different groups can come into conflict with one another and that a lot of blame is thrown around instead of admitting that there is no uniformly just solution to some things.

Some of its lines — a variant of the first line of the poem, truth is the still nectar — were in the back of my head a few days ago when I wrote another post-prayer poem, which was short enough to share on Twitter:

Untethered and new,
the star dances,
pushing back its husk,
dust, gas, and newborn worlds
hot, illuminated, one,
rough friction and light.
Heart uncovered,
an image, an agalma of gravity,
elements combining and scattering,
intelligible even here,
too radiant to yet touch.


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