Scripturience is always eschatological in the end.
I read in Luke Kennard’s poem Ghost Story, where he talks about god making the soul pass through all possible human lives as a kind of edification or explanation or challenge or trick or joke, and remembered a very similar thought I’d had since childhood – except I imagined it would be every animal I ever stepped on, every living being including the long and interminable lives of trees, the short and inexplicable lives of mushrooms. I just remembered an ancestor to this idea in my head, or maybe the source of it, in Douglas Adam’s book where there exists a creature that in all of its incarnations is killed by Arthur Dent. Incarnations shares its root with french carné, and carnivore. Lives are the mind made meat, expendable and eaten by god’s great experiment.
I can imagine a Koan based around a similar idea – if you are to live the life of every person you have ever met, every plant you have ever seen, and every animal, fish and vegetable that you have ever eaten, would you agree to live? And then we can go on to include rocks and stars and clouds in this, and the answer might be – but this is how things already are. You are living the last life in the universe.
Art for art’s sake is just a warning not to expect more.
Man stands against the boiling ocean of the possible
silhouetted by a setting sun – striding
out into the deep to be destroyed.
He could not keep the truth without dissolving:
a lone skeleton falls apart in the tides
and – drawn to the depths of darkness – this
pile of white bones dances down – into the abyss.
But not this man, no, this man keeps
to bed clutching scribe’s accoutrements
projecting dense defiance –
he poeticises wildly in the throes of music
waxing prophetic on the coming task of men
struggling in pain to focus, but he knows.
He just can’t seem to formulate
the premises in his prose.
Squinting in his nest, his moustache moist,
about the grand transcendence of the dark,
his mother brings him tea – his rough blanket
covered in yesterdays crumbs and ink accidents,
warms his knees – the will to digestion crowing.
He takes his meagre meal, curses her and even
As she makes matrimonial suggestions,
ressentiment quickens his breathing.
‘Woman is weak’ – he spits his damp crumbs
glaring at the matronly sign and signal
of his own pathetic nature – he turns aside
back to constant scribbling – by which he’ll teach
the world its wholly meagre worth in silence:
embalming modern insights in his head
with half-learned scraps of Darwin from the papers,
he will tread alone into the deep –
and this destiny has said.
He has no one to go with him, not a single friend.
And rather than put this down
to his unpleasant selfish manner
(a reason that never occurred to him)
he sees his path and hammer
as the wind’s lonely self-justifying answer to the void.