act or reflect?

impotent sadness —
is that really all I have?
what’s the alternative?
— plunge into the infinite
bewilderment of Being

The starting point for this poem was that I dreamed I was struggling with computer technology — couldn’t get the hang of a certain piece of software. I fell to wondering if the dream arose from yesterday’s umpteenth example of my tendency to grieve when I see so many heads buried in technology when I travel on London Transport. The human race is incredibly clever, and computers prove it. In that case why are we rushing so blindly towards our own extinction (from climate change)? Clearly, information technology is not to blame. But just as a man staring at a screen misses what’s actually around him, likewise as a species, we are missing what’s happening to us. That’s how I see things, and in settling down to write a poem about it, I became aware how much of life provokes in me a response of ‘impotent sadness’. I see no solution to suffering. But maybe one can suffer more as a participant and less as an observer. They say apparently a man named Shakespeare wrote a play called Hamlet dealing with these themes.


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