By Sam Keen

Digging beneath

the immediate mind

that occupies itself

with pizza, paper clips,

keeping the lawn trimmed,

repairing a decaying house,

I uncover ruins of

an old dwelling,

a city,

a world

once believed in

faithfully tended.


Digging deeper

I find another

and another.


Little wonder

I stumble, unstable

on shifting ground

                    My mind wanders through                   

layers of rubble,

discarded beliefs,

outworn creeds,

broken hopes,

shattered illusions,

bones of failed heroes

blood of false saviors.


Socrates, that trickster,

taught a way of thinking,

dialectic and dialogue 

an endless approach.

Never arrival at

the promised vision —

the good, the beautiful,

and the true.


I believed in

the Lord Jesus Christ,

with as much of my

heart, mind and soul

as I could marshal,

but he failed to saved me

from death’s dominion

and the fear of nothingness.


I trusted Freud

to lead me down

into an underworld

from which I returned wounded

with little redemptive wisdom

other than a sermon on coping

and the virtues of love and work


Marx, in whom I never believed,

taught me better than he knew

of the danger of all Utopias

and left me with a bitter truth

that I (and he) and all others

are moved more by desire

for power and profit

than by love of justice.


Tiring of pure reason,

D.H.Lawrence filled me with dreams

of the dark kingdom of the blood,

Dionysian excess, an orgy of the senses

to wash away the pale abstractions of the mind.

Too late I learned what Apollo knows,

that order may be sweet

and discipline a sure way

to savor the delight of art.


A skilled archeologist

might map more layers,

passions, persons and places

I thought might save me

from what I am not certain

and give me peace, at last.


Should I mourn and build again?

 clear away the debris

smooth out the ground

prepare a solid foundation

for a new edifice to house my spirit?


Wherever I stand

tectonic plates rumble.

I am earthquake-prone.

Not a good insurance risk.


It might be better

to dwell under an open sky,

maybe in a tent,

or dig a cave in the side of the hill

and make a fire pit for a hearth.


Best yet, dance….

Enjoy the moment, 

the small things:

Love, Friends. Feast.

A God presence in longing…..

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