I have recently been working on a series of "persona" poems, in which I take on the identity of some real, fictional, or archetypal character and speak in his or her voice. What's fascinating about this is how I can comment on my own inner workings or on those of my friends, family, and acquaintances, while also revealing or discribing universal psycho-spiritual truths. This was written for a friend who is in an agnostic phase. Enjoy.
In Persona II: Wotan Wonders if there is a God
If I took off this eye patch, maybe I wouldn’t be blind.
Maybe I would see myself, reflected in the pools of Erda.
If only I could remember I am a god—or else a son of God—
perhaps the clouds would open and I would understand.
If I dropped this twisted walking stick, maybe I could stand.
I could thunder and rage at the tall empty sky—
as that frog-faced Alberich blasphemes me,
paddling his webbed-footed fingers in puddles of earth,
dabbling in divinity—what does he know (but do I?)—
Beneath this intentional eye patch, maybe I am not blind.
From the altitude of Valhalla, I suspect the rarity of air
is a function of some vast expanse where I should be,
where a perfection dwells; but down here, wandering,
I shake my thunder-fist and howl dirty songs against the sun.
I cannot remember I am a god—or else a son of God.
I am a wonder, I know: the music made around me,
the glories of my face, the strong amazement of the body
that I wear among mortals; and I should pose tall
and pull the spear-deep wisdom from the world ash tree:
If I stopped leaning on a walking stick, maybe I could stand.
Your love is better than gold, more beautiful than magic golden rings,
I thought I told her: but she grew invisible and maybe turned away—
so I wander, wondering, imagining my fits of rage
do not shake the stars, do not wake dragons. I could blame
the eye patch, say that without it maybe I wouldn’t be blind.
I could learn from reading, writing: books of wisdom,
books of nature; facts that I should know, and do know
in the core of me. But in my handsome earth-suit I prefer
the alias of espionage, of unrequital, victimized agnosticized
skeptical despair. Remember, I am a god—or else a son of God—
a subcreator of my introspective self. I forge my right
to see peripherally or not at all; to understand
or miscomprehend; to fight the dragon or to walk away.
How many miles have I traveled, crawling, among men?
If I dropped this twisted walking stick, maybe I could stand
to listen to the answers:
Is invisibility necessary for ignorance?
Is infatuation the same as incarnation?
Is immortality the opposite of immolation?
Is identity a sole conception, or the soul’s receptacle?
If only I could remember I am not blind,
I could stand being a son of God.