The vigour of heresy

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Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate (Plurality should not be posited without necessity) –William of Ockham

In his first serious essay
for Religious Instruction
he applies Occam's razor
(budding scientist at work)
to God's reputation:
all power to do all things,
all essence in all things,
all guidance for all things,
past, present, future.

Keeping it simple, he favours
the universe as is
in its cycles of bloom
and dust, orbits
and double helix feats
launched by laws
of urge and reaction,
lure and strife,
first seed, last song,
billiard balls colliding
ad infinitum, no recourse
to maker or judge.

He awaits appreciation
of insight and logic
by his Marist teacher.
None comes, others praised
in a covenant of dogma,
his first taste of discourse
by dismissal, his first vow
for the vigour of heresy.


Alone of God's creatures, apparently,
we can thumb our noses while walking.

Ever since our ancestors found favour
by standing to reach food or refuge,

such tottering greed for upright poise
goaded and blazed our brains as we carried

tools or weapons, chased prey or dodged
predator around and over obstacles,

hefted the injured to our shoulders,
carted bricks for tower or mausoleum.

We sprint for the train, jog for health, dance
and tumble for pleasure, rock children to sleep.

We walk until we lay ourselves down
to dream we are walking. Our erect gaze

spans the horizons of six million years.
Even the dead are known to walk.


Death is not my true name,
nor the nature of my work.
That decay you sniff

is your second last breath
laced with effluence
of organ meltdown.

That sound, twitch of artery,
prayer in last gasp,
rasp of eyelids closing.

That touch, quick jading
of nerves cragged by light.
That taste, minerals

recycling into carbon grace.
And what you see as eyes
roll back on time

is that mirror of silence
at the back of your mind.
How it braids the shadows

behind each venture
flung aside, each setback.
How it summons the yearning

that once kindled your face.
How it cheers the birth
of all work we puzzle together.

Earl Livings Earl Livings has had poetry and fiction published in journals and anthologies in Australia, Britain, Canada, USA and Germany. He is the editor of the online poetry journal Divan. His first book of poetry, Further than Night, was published in 2000. In 2005 he won the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Competition.

Topic tags: earl livings, Dialectic, Bipedal, Psychopomp, new australian poetry



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Existing comments

discourse by dismissal, once more? weeks gone by July to September without comment being lodged ... but maybe this is a corner of E St too easily overlooked. Neat work, Earl!
Max Richards | 09 September 2008


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