Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Divisible Consequences

Unravel the days,
cloth into thread,
mittens into yarn,
yarn into wool,
and leaping
rearward in time,
back onto the grimy
sides of the unshorn
lamb, standing in
the rain on a morning
of fog in the north

Unravel the days,
we have done these
things, but wish them
undone, and to
break down all these
works and their
consequences, these
if/then statements,
and if they can be
divisible, we will
separate them and
unmake those
fingerprint stains
on the hours,

in worry over things
that never happened,
overlooking all the
wondrous dangers
at play beneath our feet,
too concerned with
the long view of the
soaring peaks at the
cheek of the horizon
to see the stumbling
blocks athwart our path,

And we are
doomed to trip forever,
our faces bruised unto
eternity, the heels of
our hands scuffed and
bloody, the knees of
our trousers ripped
and stained with

For we have
wrapped our time
tight and knotted,
serpentine like the
course of the drunken
man up a steep and
cobbled street, and
it will not unravel,
will not give us these
reprieves, for if we
are gifted, all others
must also be gifted,
and all cannot be

or the system breaks,

unshipped from all our


drthunder said...

It's interesting that you should speak of unravelling time. I've thought about this many times, and concluded that looking forward is more intrigueing that looking back. All of my yesterdays contribute to the value of all of my todays and tomorrows, and are therefore,they may be too valuable to unravel.

Stranger Ken said...

I just have one question, not about the poem, which I enjoyed as I always do, but about your conclusion: why will the system break if we are all blessed? Wouldn't the opposite be the case?

Firehawk said...


Have we found a streak of optimism in there?

Well, I thought about my answer to your question for a while, and here's what I came up with: the statement could be taken two ways: 1) If we could go back and edit our personal histories in order to get more favorable results, avoid trials, and keep the things that haunt us at night from ever happening, there would be no objective reality left. There are going to be trials and hard times. Someone has to encounter them...I suppose everyone does. The "system" breaks down if we can have, as we used to call it in kickball games "free walk-backs". The narrator wishes he could unravel time and go backward, changing elements of the past he's hard-put to live down. He recognizes that if he would be allowed that blessing (or curse?), everyone would be entitled to the same, and thought it might work for one, it doesn't work for all.

(takes breath)

2) Here's the more negative viewpoint of it: the world is not built in such a way that we can all be blessed in equal measures. Everyone cannot win. We can't always get what we want. Sometimes, we can't even get what we need. If we could, it wouldn't really be this world anymore. To make my favorite quote from Rhinobucket: "This ain't heaven/Baby, get used to it."

Anyway, thanks for the thought-provoking question. Many happy returns.


Time only goes in one direction. It's imperative to our sanity that it does. Changing your own past...that way lies madness.

Soulless said...

Of poems that linger in my mind and for which I am thankful to the author, there are those that make me gasp at the end... And there are those -- like this particular piece -- that make me go very still, very silent... while the mind traverses a thin line between contemplation and resignation.

This piece reminds me of something I've been told a long time ago: "a second gone is a second gone forever." I cannot literally take back a word I've said, nor undo an act I've done intentionally or not. If it were otherwise, and not only I but everyone else could weave and un-weave time... then what would happen to the system of values? A breakdown, I reckon. And, if every person can regain what he/she has lost -- be it material or not -- then no one can ever be certain of what he/she really has, let alone its value.

Hmm, just a thought. Anyway, let me promptly cease rambling. Hee. I have missed reading your poetry, dear. ^_^

Stranger Ken said...

I see your point, but I'm not sure I agree with you. Time does, in its passing, "reprieve" us in all kinds of ways, surely? Not least of these is that time provides the opportunities and experiences we need to have if we're to learn the wisdom of not living our lives like a drunken man staggering up a steep and cobbled street.

Firehawk said...


So glad to have you back from your busy time! I'm glad my poem brought this state of quiet on for you. I'm never sure what I'll write, or where it comes from. As I've said before, it's "The Mother Ship" for most of them. I'm just the translator station. I suppose that gives me an out if they're not so great?


The keen nature of pain fades with time, and that is a reprieve of sorts. I suppose the most important of all these thoughts is that we would be a detriment to ourselves if we could censor our own past. I believe that we learn more from our faliures than our successes, so we'd be a sad enough lot without that experience, eh?