There was a time in which the majority of my intellectual energy was devoted to researching, pondering, and writing about mystical and occult traditions. Foremost amongst these was Kabbalah, both in its Jewish and Western manifestations. While I do not believe in these systems, their beautiful imagery and symbolism and ontology still pluck a few nerves. This poem dives into Binah, one of the sephirot in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life...
Marah, Sea of Tears
How have I peered into those shadowed depths
And seen the world's demise?
Can this same sorrow that she breeds
Be where this serpentine path leads?
Are these same tears that swallow up my eyes
The resting-place of dreams?
Or shining seeds of vile destruction, each
Born from her darker side?
Engraved upon the blackness of her calm,
Smooth surface, still as Death,
I see reflected many things,
Foremost amongst them Saturn's rings;
Bewitched, I gaze and fall under the spell
Of ancient Father Time
Who, filled with vengeance, tells me mortal life
Is finite, futile dream.
And so I feed with my despair young twins,
The children of this Sea:
For she is Mother, Dark and Light,
Whose womb gives birth to Day and Night.
Full-grown, up from the softly crashing surf
The Son and Daughter spring,
Both born, like Aphrodite, from the foam
That breaks upon the sand.
Her name is Understanding to the brave
Ones who have felt her Love.
While drowning all to purify,
She strengthens as we pass her by.
I fear that, unlike Noah's guiding dove,
I have no hope of land:
Have I been left, forgotten, lying at
The Gateway of the Soul?
Yet while I drown so slowly, softly, drunk
Upon her salty wine,
I ponder: Do her waters feed?
Or, overbearing, drown the seed
Of Life's own Rose that has been placed with Love
Into the heart of Man?
And then with tenderness she shows me that
In truth there's naught to fear:
Our greatest joys are sorrow-born;
True Heaven lies past lands forlorn;
In demon's shrouds is God adorned.