Beyond Certainty

The old ones knew direction

charting their course

from an inner map

rich with silence.

Awake to the night

traveling with the moon

they found distant islands

beyond the grasp of certainty.

I ask for their guidance

as I set out on the morning

feeling their comfort

with the unformed unknown.


10 Responses to “Beyond Certainty”

  1. maria frid says:

    I am deeply grateful for the old ones that knew! They opened the doors of wonder for so many. Thank you Don for your beautiful poem!

  2. Bill Dare says:

    Another great reminder for all, Don. Thanks, Brother.

  3. David Banner says:

    Don…many of us were blessed to know some of the old ones…..and our lives are so much richer for it! Thank you, my friend.

  4. Pi Chay says:

    My Thai name is pi Chay, “elder brother.”

    “Knew”….knowing…is everything. Attempting or claiming to “know about” is meaningless and needs no explanation.

    Serendipity happened twice today. Mind might ask, “how did it happen, I want to know.” The one who knows turns to tree and winks; then falls to sacred ground laughing.

  5. Sandy Jensen says:

    Wonderful; I certainly understand the source water of this poem!
    Note that you have a shift in verb tense:
    “writ” is some kind of shorthand for “written,” which doesn’t grammatically rhyme with “awake.” You’re okay with “they found” followed by “I ask,” but I think you’ll want to observe tense parallelism. Hmmm maybe the problem is that you want a period after “silence.” That would solve the problem, except for the unpleasantness of the word “writ.” It seems to me something more magical happened than that word, which conjures monks hunched over manuscripts copying by candlelight.

    I paused over the word “modernity,” as having a 50’s sound (modern, post-modern, etc.), but I accept it as giving the contrasting flavor between the eternal and the quotidian that you are looking for.

    This kind of poem is called an “aubade,” a welcoming of the dawn, and it has all the simple clarity that implies.

  6. ken harris says:

    We are NOW the “OLD” ones! We have less tomorrows than we have had yesterdays during this incarnationThe question I now ask myself daily is “am I helping to build the ‘BRIDGE” for those who will follow me in my daily interaction with all those I touch and meet.”
    Like you I was BLESSED to have known many elders who provided light on my path. May we continue with the LEGACY of LOVE!

  7. admin says:

    Sandy Jensen’s accurate wordsmithing comments pushed me back into a deeper look at the meaning I wanted to convey in this poem. The edited version is now posted.

  8. How I love being a keeper of the lineage.

  9. Marco says:

    In this poem, Don, I recognize that moment of realization that I/we are hitting a discontinuity – not gentle, gradual change, but escalating mutations are broadsiding a familiar, perhaps tired, likely unsustainable … routine.

    Harking back to the old ones … always brings me back to the here and now – the unchanging center and source. It appears that the only way to perceive “the map” is to trust our movement forward …

  10. Jane says:

    Beautiful. Thank you.

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