No Island is a Man

No man is an island, I heard it said.
In fact no island is an island or ever could be.
Don’t let the lapping shore fool you or the distant horizons.
From that protecting splashing cerulean swell moist air rises
Makes clouds that rain on friend and foe alike,
Entices out the bashful reticent herb to drink in sweet daylight.
That’s not your daylight, island. We all get it, maybe not at the same time.
You may think you get more than me but seasons come and go
And fickle clouds, already lauded, enjoy too much their shadow play.
Sorry island, but you are not alone and never can be.
Your independence will teach you one thing, and one thing only,
How did you get here, proud islander.
Did just your island have an amoebic ancestor and you its grandchild?
If not, did those grandsires arrive in their Proterozoic canoe one sunny day?
That means you have cousins not yet met enjoying rain from your clouds.
Glad or sad, want your rain back or a heartfelt hug inserting geniality into your genealogy
An embarrassed embryonic embrace of final recognition
You are not an island any more than your island is.
If you think you are, think this.
There is just you on your tiny island, in the vast ocean on an enormous planet
In your immense solar system in its massive galaxy in an infinite universe.
Notice the dead ant next to you, see the black of its eye.
The universe can see neither of you in your solitude, unable to rate you more.
But, consensus sends out pulses of solidarity
That can be seen from space like the Great Wall of China.
Your solitude is simply a dark place in the darkness
Indistinguishable from all shadowy mist and murk, somber in your somberness.
When the breeze from every island’s air,
Caresses your trees and in the stirring of their leaves’ creates a caroling harmony
Learn the lesson of that classroom. Study the network
And know you are a strand in its woven web. Not merely, but simply, purely.
As is every other strand, your boundless kin and mutual buttress.
No man is an island but an island is no man.

4 thoughts on “No Island is a Man

  1. Written in the sunshine? Very thought-full.

    You might like;

    “The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

    Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

    We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

    Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another.

    Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

    They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.”
    ― Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion.

    and a longer piece From Heschel ‘No Religion is an Island’

    • Greetings, Roger. Always great to hear from you and add new knowledge and ideas. I’ll look up the article with interest. Yep, in the sunshine until 12th July. Someone’s got to do it.

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