We are uncommitted to anything but our struggle to deal in our own way with the blessedness and damnableness of this particular dimension of mysterious matter, with a magic humility, with an inner life of worry and enjoyment, with the art of giving pleasure to others, with a sense of the dramaturgical at the heart of life, with a continuously cultivated sense of the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the grotesque. -John Cowper Powys, In Spite Of: A Philosophy for Everyman, Village Press, London, 1974(1953), pp.73-87.
We are busy at face-saving, as we must be,
at pushing away what hurts us and we canít change,
as far away, to the country of the dead.
We hypersensitive weaklings in time and space,
categories of thought, learning the beginning of wisdom
in humility, keeping ourselves light by laughter
in an exaggeration of comic humiliations,
ridiculous lapses and learning to enjoy
doing things we donít like.
This life of contemplative sensation
I could not exchance for the trappings
of success; indeed, enough has come
my way to balance what some might call
this personal self-indulgence
where the opinion of others matters
not a twit and conceit, vanity and pride
cease their hold, their urgent demonic trinity.
15 December 1996