Caveat Precator

by Meredith Patterson

(Editor's note: 'precator' means supplicant.)

You say, "Let me be moved"; but then you hold,
In hopes some vaster Spirit will unfold
Its wings before you, seeking to inspire
Within you some more influential fire
Than what, so far, has sputtered in your mind
Like sparks on sodden kindling, aligned
So no one log can catch another one;
So your ideal makes itself undone.

You say, "Let me be moved"; but then you hold.
As you tell me, were not you once so told?
Consider, rather than celestial blaze,
How subtle movement for compounded days
Builds friction — heat — and breaks at last to light
That spreads itself from there. No hallowed might
Casts purpose down from some anointed throne;
We have the will to forge it on our own.

You say, "Let me be moved"; but then you hold,
Not knowing, without motion, life is cold.
The crux is this: Man's soul is not of wood,
Nor aught unmoving stuff, nor that which could
Be immolated any way but by
A self-ignition. Ingenuity
Pursued, puts wicks in men, and in her name
They chase her, and in doing, find their flame.