Contained Within Is a Contrary Seed...

What can we do? Creatures of contradiction,
Torn this way by the facts, that way by fiction--
Divided against our selves--we scarcely know
Just what it is we want, or where to go.
Sometimes it seems we're passive, just responders:
Each like a leaf that as the wind blows wanders.
At other times it seems quite the reverse:
Extreme self-will our paralyzing curse.
See? Even there the contradiction reigns:
The passive moves, the active will restrains!
It seems that all that is, it's been decreed,
Contains within it a contrary seed:
A principle of self defeat, or balance,
That throws in harsh perspective all our talents.
Cross-purposed thus, from day to day to day,
Like rushing water grinding rock away,
We whittle down our finite block of time
With the abrasive chaos in our minds.

Yet one thing's true no matter what our powers--
We always want exactly what's not ours!
The grass is always greener, as they say.
Tomorrow's always better than today.

The cards we're dealt are never quite the ticket,
We'd choose a different hand if we could pick it.
There's something in our image that's defective,
Our mirror never accurately reflective.
We rail against limits, wasting all our breath,
Rehearsing for our losing fight with death.
With bare minds and bare hands, we beat the wall
And loosen a few bricks before we fall.

What we forget is that what life denies us
At the same time begets what satisfies us.
It's what we long for that makes us creative,
While all that we've acquired proves more deflative.
It's hungry hearts and wild imaginations
That call forth life's amazing sublimations.
What's poetry? What's art? What's kinky sex?
But our assaults upon the given text?--
Attempts as doomed to fail as to delight,
Attempts to transcend boundaries with flight.
The juice squeezed from Fatality's the mead
Which the immortal gods guard with such greed.
Likewise it's our mortality that yields
Those games we'd play in our Elysian Fields.

by R. Nemo Hill

Among his publishing credits R. Nemo Hill can count an illustrated novel (in collaboration with painter Jeanne Hedstrom)--Pilgrim's Feather (Quantuck Lane Press, 2002); a book length poem in heroic couplets based upon a story by H.P Lovecraft--The Strange Music of Erich Zann (Hippocampus Press, 2004); Prolegomena to an Essay on Satire (Modern Metrics, 2006); as well as work in various journals including Sulfur, Mid-American Review, Iambs & Trochees, The Lyric, Ambit (UK), The Hypertexts (online), and Poetry. He lives in New York City, but travels frequently to Southeast Asia, where he buys silks and other objects to sell in the States.

Table Of Contents    Next Poem(s)    Guidelines