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Thursday, 4 April 2013

King Lear II : Or a study (short sketch) in
Existentialism
.


Imagine...
Autocrat!
Absolute ruler!
Czar of all can see...
but age is tiring you:
how welcome retirement would be!

So you shovel your crown,
your sceptre and throne
and the weight of the world
that goes with them all
on to your least favoured son --
in whom you have sown
all the wisdom and duty you've grown
in the years you've been king.

So was it the weight
or the greed in his heart
or the fact that he never did bloody well care,
that he turned from the way,
betrayed you and the faith
and acted the anti-Christ King?

Your life-style adviser advises retreat
to a cloistered place with a strict regime
in the wildest terrain you could wish,
but you take yourself off,
just you and your God
to the Desert of Hungry Souls.
And you live in a cave
and you don't wash or shave
but rail night and day at your God
and your prayers explode
in the language of filth
and there's nothing but you,
you finally see, in the world,
but the snake and the toad
you've befriended out here.

The world is a grand, empty place,
remote and extreme, and there's no way to guess
why the hell you have ended up here!

And was it the herb that you ate from the stream
or the storm that left you for dead,
or the bite from the snake
or the ice in your bed
or the loneliness rendered you mad?
Was it seeing yourself as the one soul alive
who is guilty, unable to put things right,
with only the gift to stand alone
and reject the easy and trite?

But you're making no sense that sane men would see,
blaming yourself for the ills of the world
as if you were God - and praying, I hear,
to the god of your dreams (who doesn't exist)
that your kids may be spared
a trauma like this.

Written for The Wednesday prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads where we were asked to write something on Existentialism which The Free Dictionary defines as A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.

13 comments:

anthonynorth said...

The question is: was it in some way your choice to not remember?
Great write, by the way.

Brian Miller said...

that last stanza really spoke to me dave...putting ourselves in the position of god puts so much weigh and it speaks to our desire to control as well which is an illusion...and in the end causes so much stress in our lives...ah though i do hope our kids are spared...smiles.

kaykuala said...

The world is a grand, empty place,
remote and extreme, and there's no way to guess why the hell you have ended up here!

The laments of many who are still wondering what happens when things go wrong. Others in the meantime are far ahead! Nicely Dave!

Tabor said...

The question of whether we are at fault or whether we could have done it better does haunt us all, powerful or not so much.

Cloudia said...

Thus endith the lesson.

Thank you for soul nourishment, Dave


Aloha

Optimistic Existentialist said...

We are all haunted by retrospective thinking at times...it's like a pull that we can't resist.

wordcoaster said...

I agree with Brian; this outlook seems overly daunting. Love how you presented it. :)

Elephant's Child said...

A haunting take on an ever-present theme. Thank you.

ds said...

"Was it seeing yourself as the one soul alive
who is guilty, unable to put things right,
with only the gift to stand alone..."

Oh, yes. As for the final stanza, I'm with Brian. This is a complete Ponderable, sir. Well done. Thank you.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

The final stanza, the condundrum of not believing in God and yet putting oneself in the position of God. Great write, Dave. All these existentialist poems have started me craving a Nick Cave soundtrack as I read!

Your take on King Lear is original and refreshing. Peace, Amy

Carl said...

You are presenting big themes this week. I love it.

Dave King said...

anthonynorth
I fear you might be too near the truth!
Thanks.

Brian
Strange though, how we can become god-like in our own eyes, without ever believing in God!

Hank
Thanks for this Hank.

Tabor
Yes, I agree, it does - even when we don't realise it.

Cloudia
Well, don't take it too literally!

Optimistic Existentialist
It is so. I wonder what use that was to us during our long period of evolution....

wordcoaster
A warm welcome to you -- and much thanks for this.

Elephant's Child
Thanks so much for this.

ds
Good to have your thoughts, thanks for sharing them.

sharplittlepencil
That's got to be a plus -- craving a Nick Cave soundtrack, I mean! Thanks fora helpful and fascinating response.

Carl
Thanks, I'm being presented with them, of course - but loving the challenge.

Margaret said...

This is really a work of art... a lot of time and effort. And like Brian, the last stanza superb.