What are we trying to hide? — Tanka Today 2015.04.26

Little Frog by Bart Van Dorp
(Image credit: Bart Van Dorp)

nestled frog
back against a wall —
one way out;

just a moment’s peace
in a savage world


Sometimes it seems no matter how advanced humanity becomes, the elements of our lives will always boil down to the basic set of behaviors that early humans must have used to survive and thrive where they lived long ago. With little more than rough-hewn tools of wood, stone, horn and bone, they began carving their name into the surface of the earth. First we put our initials on this tree of life, and then over time the graffiti proliferated until it was hard to see the tree for all the carving on its trunk —

only the tree is still there.

The wilderness remains
beneath the hard, slick veneer —
the software layer —
of the modern day.
We think we’re smart;
we ranged
and we conquered with concrete
the hardware of life
that made us this way.
We tear it to bits,
inputs for the machines
that give us the warm fuzzies . . .
and we conquer all
but ourselves.

I find that society itself is a denial that this is a savage world, and that lasting, inner peace is something that must be manufactured whole-cloth within each of us; because in truth every moment of peace is a win that cannot last too long. Flexibility and resilience are two of the most valuable virtues one can possess, and analytic introspection the highest skill; yet these aren’t enhanced by our educational systems. They must be self-taught, and thus we find ourselves living in this lie, that school has all the answers to making it in the real world.

 Don’t forget about the old school. This world we’ve built is no safer than the one it was built over. There are predators all around, and you’re always being evaluated as potential prey. Learn to roll with the punches and change direction as necessary. Discover community with others nearby.

And of course, don’t take yourself too seriously. There is no inner peace until we choose to find it within, in spite of everything we dislike about the world and the way it works.



(Header image by Alan Levine)

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