Tag Archives: God



P3310265 - Version 2


On my soul like a shelf
sits my own self
small as an elf
all by itself.

These four lines have popped up in my mind at various times in my life, but they are unpinned to any further memory.  Where did I read them?  Perhaps in a poetry anthology used when I last taught poetry 35 years ago, or perhaps in college. Google fails me and I can’t find its author.  I try various portions of the poem, but still, no cigar.  Google takes the poem apart and shows me dozens of posts that contain all these words,but none where they are stuck together in order.

Finally, in an article from Southern Review, I find a piece by John Montague that references his last communication from Theodore Roethke, but it seems that once again my memory has failed me, for his version is:

In a hand like a bowl
Danced my own soul,
Small as an elf,
All by itself.

Since my favorite college writing professor was a student of Roethke’s, it makes sense that this is why I remember these lines and that it was Roethke who wrote them; but since Montague describes the lines as “Blakesian,” I have to make sure that Roethke wasn’t just quoting William Blake.  I feed the correct lines into Google and finally, win success.  They are the opening lines of the poem “Restored” written by Theodore Roethke!

So, the first two lines are my own, the second two Roethke’s–a sort of nonofficial collaboration that actually makes me think more than the original.  Could “the soul” actually be our real authentic self and the rest of us just experimentation?  If there is a ruling hand in the universe, is it playing games with us–sending us out lifetime after lifetime to see how we’ll do in various situations? Like cans of Campbell’s soup lined up on a shelf, our present life is merely the flavor of the day.  Another reincarnation, another flavor.

As I grow older,  I increasingly think of life as a game–the entire universe the amusement park of a colossal mind keeping itself entertained. If we call that mind God and profess that he sees even the smallest sparrow fall, it is a testament to both the intricacy and the incredible efficiency of that mind and the interconnectedness of nature as the organizational structure by which he keeps it all straight.


The Sweet and Bitter Lie


This is one of 15 creches I’ve constructed of unaltered natural items I’ve found on the beach. For some reason, I am captivated by the gentle side of Mexico best symbolized by her obsession with the Virgin of Guadalupe. I’ve seen motorcycle leathers with an image of Guadalupe on the back! I’ll publish pictures of the others soon. I know. A seeming contradiction to the words I’ve posted below, but perhaps one or the other view is just a sweet little lie!

The Prompt: Sweet Little Lies—As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?

The Sweet and Bitter Lie

I think the sweetest little lie we tell ourselves and our children is that of a beneficent and caring God. This belief and the religion that stems from it  is our way of comforting ourselves. It is totally aside from reason. How else could we look at a baby turtle struggling to swim for the first time plucked up and swallowed by a hungry pelican, or a baby suffering with cancer or a horribly deformed child and think, “This is the product of a caring Father?” We all must conclude, if we make use of our senses at all, that nature is impartial and serves only its own cycle. There is no kindness in nature, other than her beauties and comforts; but even they all serve a purpose: to survive against all odds, and to kill or at the very least to depend upon the death of other organisms in order to do so.

I do acknowledge that Religion is probably necessary for many who do not think far enough to recognize the sweet lie. For those who use it to create more compassion for others, I applaud the end. But right now it seems as though religion is being used more as a weapon and political ploy than for the “good” side of its coin.

I don’t know how I align my agnosticism with my belief that there is some sort of incredible synchronicity going on in the world. This is a topic for another day, I guess.

For other posts on this topic, go here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sweet-little-lies/