#150: Poem: Nunc Est

SYLLOGY XLVI

INVOCATIO
(VERSIO LATINA)

nunc est hora
clamans
agitans
nunc est hora
clamantes
agitantes
rogantes
probantes
dubitantes
sumus:
est
qui sumus?
est
qui speramus?
est
quae est?
hora ista
tota, omna
hora ista
vivantes
morituri
sperantes
sumus
nunc hora
nunc sumus

VARIATIO PRIMA:
IN THE MADNESS OF THE CURRENT WORLD

/

in the madness of the current world
seek we only to survive
for long enough to see this through:

to finish our affairs right here
so that prepared we’ll be –
so that prepared we are –
for the end
as it must seem inevitable now
inevitably so
any day now
any day
any

but what if the end of the world
is only a new beginning
as it so typically has been
at all the other ends of the world?

but what if the end of the world
is not even just a beginning
but just a mere continuation?

things go on and on and on
and all our drama
all our expectations of the fall
our callous thoughts
about radical this
and revolutionary that:

nothing here
will ever
end
only transform

so is it us
that will have the problem here quite?

so is it us
in our quaint apocalyptic thoughts –
in our dreams and nightmares of an end –
so is it us
that are the problem here quite?

//

see:

madness
is not the disruption:
normality is:
any historian
will tell you that:
and any good poet
should do that as well

all this
has happened
all this
is happening
all this
will happen
again and again

pretend we
to see:
pretend we
to hear:
pretend we
to know:

and yet
whatever we thought well repressed
will surface
time and time again
if not within psychology
then well within biology
and always in authority:

///

thus in the madness of the current world
accept we must
the madness of others as given
and channel our own
to understand
how to corral it
and turn this theory of madness
this theory of insanity
into a practice of sanity
this theory of chaos
into a practice of well-guided, creative anarchy:
and this madness of hate
into the necessity of love

// //

and as we falter in this –
and all too frequently we will, we must –

we need to remember:
remember the now
and live in it
and take it in
and know it
and cherish
the moment:
it will never return

live
as if tomorrow the darkness will take you
love
as if tomorrow that love would be ending
know
as if all knowledge tomorrow would be forbidden

it is the now
it is the here
it is the I, the you, the thou
in this here moment
this here place

in all this madness
find this constant
and hold on to it
let this day, this moment in time,
be your perfect gentle sanctuary
you castle, your gallows, your death, your salvation,
all in one,
because this is it
which every moment holds

// / //

for now
is the hour
and now
is the time

VARIATIO SECVNDA:
NOW’S THE TIME

now’s the time
now is the hour
do not waste it
don’t pretend
you’ll have more time
you’ll have another chance like now:

for moments are fragile
and opportunities they’re holding
won’t be there forever
and neither will you

for comes the hour
when you will know
when life is decided
one way or the other:

the choices you have,
much fewer they are
if all you are doing
is moving along

we think we have time
but we don’t
we think we have time
but it’s running out
we think we have time
but we’re not thinking

VARIATIO TERTIA:
IN ALL OUR MISERIES, WHAT PIECE OF WORK

in all our miseries
we’re all alike
in all our miseries
we’ll all know pain
in all our miseries
we’re only mortal

if unable we seem
to share
in an empathy of suffering:
should we not
at the very least
share in an empathy of mortality?

or maybe,
we are, to each other,
our truest miseries:
certainly,
it sometimes seems that way

what a piece of work
are we:
how faulty in reason
how limited in faculty, in form, and in moving,
how underwhelming and lacking in action,
how most unlike an Angel in apprehension,
how though in ego like a God?

pretend-gods are we
thinking we could
master space
and time:

yet time will tell us all most clearly
what is the day
what is the hour
this all
comes crashing down

in all our miseries
we all too frequently refuse
to see
that misery
can be overcome
can be understood as a chance
can be showing us
a path:

they say,
memento mori: remember, you’ll die
this ain’t about death,
but rather the opposite:
memento vivere: remember to live

mortality is an invitation
to live
within the time that’s given:
to turn misery
into epiphany
and to make us see
the world,
ourselves,
again

EXVOCATIO
(VERSIO ANGLICA)

now is the hour
that cries
full of restlessness
now is the hour
in which crying
and restless
questioning
searching
questioning
we are
is this
what we are?
is this
who we hope to be?
is this
the one that is?
this hour
completely, and all
this hour
that living
bound to death
hoping
we are
now is the hour
now we are

philjohn.com/poems