All Material © Noel Harvey
Rounding the corner of a Bombay street I brake
for a Jain monk who has not seen my motorbike
or heard me,
though his sense is no less diligent than mine.
In quest of liberation
from the eternal round
the Jain reveres all beings.
he draws breath through gauze
to strain out gnats and camel flies.
Before each unshod step
he dusts the ground,
lest placing a foot
on the teeming earth
should take a life.
each footfall on the path
reverberates with consequence,
I barely saw him
through my sullied Perspex screen,
a charnel ground of splattered things,
Never knowing (I presume)
what hit them.
In my dash for freedom,
I slay thousands with no reckoning.
Why speak of 'my' wants, 'my' desires
'my' needs, as workmen I could hire
Or fire at will, like dull vassals
In liege to a Lord? This castle
is besieged, and miserable me
Mocked by Satan, in vain decrees
Henceforth I shall not be lustful,
Envious, greedy, or wrathful.
I do not decide in advance
To wake, to die, to sleep perchance
To dream 'my' thoughts. I bid them, Leave!
Yet they stay. Scream, Go! Yet they cleave.
For every one of 'my' longings
Lie demons waiting, prolonging
This craving in heart, guts and prick.
Compulsions invade the mind, like
Robbers desecrating a tomb.
Fuck you, Augustine, Hobbes, and Hume!
This will you claim is 'mine', and free
I do not have it. It has me.