That which they called Providence,
A divine scheme of God’s purposes,
Was the handiwork of Fair Fortune,
The ancient idea of lucky chances
Of adventures and misadventures,
Knocking the door of a poor man’s hut
With a pouch of lucky stars regardless
Of what the world saw for his worth,
Pacifying his ills of grief and grievances.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The doctrine of providence that a man’s life was an intricate handiwork of God’s mysterious purposes was a tenet of Protestantism which, as a counter-cultural way of resisting medieval Catholicism, advocated zealous work ethics in an effort to combine a practical faith with an active self-reliance and independence. That riches and authority came of men’s industry and diligence, of their labor and travails, not of miracles as a result of mechanical recitations of prayers and devotions to saints was the canonical principle of the reformed church. However, the folks who were not well-off, not-too-rich, poor, and very poor never subscribed to the doctrine of providence. They still clang to the concept of luck because it accounted for any misfortune befalling them regardless of merits and efforts when others wayward seemed to prosper. By believing in luck or chance that reformists condemned, he who in travails did not have to jeopardize his self-esteem as something of a mental analgesic against the strains of his contemporary life, lest he should fall by the wayside, and thus could reconcile himself to the environment he lived. Hence this belief in luck survived the seismic protestant reformation and still thrives on in our time.
In a paroxysm of wild ecstasy at the Great Rotary,
Spinning it around and around like a delirious maenad,
Changing the positions of the compass willy-nilly,
Bringing tears and sorrows, beams and windfalls
To the names of the stars the compass indicates
till the stars above fall, the earth below collapses
and her game of fortune the god of gods terminates.
Author’s Note: This self-evident poem is about the Wheel of Fortune, a popular medieval folk belief that human lives are governed by the whims and caprice of Goddess Fortuna. She is said to spin the wheel at random, blindfolded, by which human fates are decided despite our efforts through constant trials and errors. It may sound bleak and fatalistic, but it also means that it’s not our faults to go through the ordeals of life, but that such is our fates, a force majaeur circumstance beyond our mortal controls, that we have to endure with stoic attitudes toward the vicissitudes of life. It is also a way of positive outlook on life because by attributing the ups and downs of life to the force of fates, we don’t jeopardize our self-worth and thus blame ourselves.
I have recently read an article about popular instapoets from one of my subscription magazines and been appalled at the author’s dyspeptic raillery on the poems of the known poets and brazen-faced mockery on the literary merits of the works by playing a role of agent provocateur following the instapoets just to mock their works with malice.
Just because one does not like another’s work doesn’t ipso facto endow the person with right to desecrate the work and to insult the author by putting him/her in the pillory and, thus dispiriting the mind and the heart that are indeed “noble” and respectful. As a hobbyist writer of my blog who has the temerity to write in English, I am now indeed in more sorrow than in anger that there might be agents provocateur or double agents in hides of followers intent upon deriding my amateurish but sincere writings.
The instapoets, bloggers and anyone dabbling in the craft of writing are the cult of Knut Vonnegut’s maxim: “To practice any art, how well or badly, is to make your soul l grow. So do it.” I hope the author and his likes will understand it with magnanimity of the learned literati who will not use their learning to reason against these noble spirits.
Author’s Note: This poem is a spiritual recipe for the existential malady which stifles the soul’s desire for freedom of expression for a social recognition denied on the ground of unfortunate biological and social planes. Kafka’s miserable salesman turned into a big monster bug, but the narrator of this poem becomes a beautiful, confident spirit rider, jettisoned from the dreadful realistic shackles and chooses to embark on new adventures with Kemosabe, meaning “a faithful friend” in Native American language, which is the Great White Spirit Horse.
Once upon a time, there was a natural beverage called Milk from a cow out of which people made a variety of victuals to live and enjoy. Then when the age of reason hit the zenith of ethical paeans and scientific progress, people engineered offspring of Milk to their likings and called them low-fat, 2% reduced-fat, fat-free, or even lactose-free. And that’s not the end of hubris. It bellows to encourage people to try extremes like that of Dr. Frankenstein. The results are almond milk, soy milk, and now oat milk, which Starbucks has recently added to its beverage menu.
It appears that Starbucks has finally nodded to the growing demand for vegan alternatives to dairy products, attracting more upscale, environmental and health-conscious clientele supporting Greta Thunberg’s noble environmental activism. Thanks to globally strategic campaigns about the alleged maleficent effects of cow milk on the grounds of health, environmental, and ethical issues, drinking cow milk has become something diabolical. Subsequently, dairy sales and related industries have drastically fallen and continued, causing many companies to file bankruptcy and even more people to lose their jobs. I wonder if these so-called upscale people have even worked at ordinary jobs and understand the dreadful consequences of unemployment, prior to pontificating about their virtue-extolling manifestoes.
I am unsure of whether Starbucks will hit a bonanza by selling the new vegan addition to its menu due to the facts that (1) only 13 locations in the U.S. Mid West and a few selected locations in the U.S. will sell the oat milk drink; and that (2) there are still many people who are not ardently militant against cow milk when it pairs deliciously well in their favorite cold drinks. For me, I may try the new oat milk drink if it becomes available in my location out of curiosity, doubled with a writerly responsibility to see if it’s really worth the replacement and the propaganda for me to jump into the bandwagon.