Alienation

Between the world of knowledge

And the problems of the world,

Between the day of indifference

And the detachment of Enlightenment

is the shadowland.

From justification through Art

To a need for atonement for sin.

From the vision of despair

To the affirmation of life

Is not so far

As from inauthentic existence

To any alternative way.

Between the world of the beautiful people

And the ‘cult’ of clinical concern,

Between the powerless intents of pacifism

And the disillusion of diplomats,

Between grievance demanding revenge

And tolerance of fallibility

Is far enough

To keep us talking interminably

Of the alienation of man.

Between the words I vainly say

And their meaning to another,

Between my most significant gesture

And its interpretation,

Between the intensity of my cry of pain

And the futility of its impact

Lies the division of the world.

Resignation is not enough

And stoicism, an escape to another illusion.

To stretch across the brink

Has some meaning.

And death itself is vindicated

If it opens the way for others

To cross the divide.

October 23rd 1967   [ Just after arriving at Keele University]

 

 

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