They wonder at me.
I am not connected.
They cannot comprehend the difference.
Between me and them.
I am not a rushing city, open and exposed to all,
Skyscrapers and phone poles the stitches that suture
To maintain the vital signs of human correspondence.
Cars, busses, trains the moving germs.
Planes the flies that hover 'round raw flesh.
And Internet the brain-waves of the beast. Or the fangs.
It sucks and turns its victims into blank-eyed, open-mouthed, sodden zombie-ghouls.
But these zombies are quite harmless, isolated and alone,
With only the screen for company—that virtual father, mother, friend, lover, god,
To whom they blank-eyed spill their living guts,
Surrendering to cyberspace what they would claw to keep in war.
They give it to her freely, one and all connected to each other
In a deadly Web of openneness and, yet, isolation,
And she, their multi-legged, ever-reaching goddess,
Preys upon them,
Takes it all, chews it down,
Then with a laugh vomits it up to the entire world.
And all the world knows every secret, catches every virus she excretes,
Each man alone, unarmed, and, even hidden, exposed from the housetops.
And always noise,
Whether the conversation be verbal or silent,
That stunts capacity to analyze and judge her intentions. Or their consequences.
That is not who I am.
I am a forest, in sight of the city, but firmly planted out of reach.
No man owns me, no corporation, millionaire, or even nation.
Just the God who made me,
And the aged trees from whom I am descended.
Silent to the outside world, save in a sometime-wind.
They look at me from sky-view offices,
And wonder at, or pity me.
Archaic I seem to them, completely backward.
And this, besides the fact they are too busy to venture forth,
Keeps them away from me.
I am intelligence and peace.
The few who enter my perimeter
Find quiet and protection in my soft, leafy walls.
I have secrets. But I do not tell. They must ask
And work for them; then they will keep them too.
Some of them can feel it, if they remain in me
Long enough to forget, for a moment,
The clamor just beyond and infinitely distanced from me.
Their eyes regain some brightness,
Their mouths press back together, healed,
And their minds perceive again away from the great Spider's paralyzing sting.
The further in they venture, the more they come to know
About themselves, and about me—
About true Essences.
Each leaf is a thought, each twig an idea.
And if they take the time and effort
To see, and reach, and pluck
In the right attitude,
The leaves will pass to their hands,
The twigs to their touch,
The Essence to their hearts.
And he, the one man
Who leaves the spider's web and ventures
As far as he can into my very center,
Will find a life-springing brook,
Heart and blood-giver of my Being,
Ever lapping in an abundance of thought and heart.
He will immerse himself and emerge,
And pull himself onto the bank a new man.
And he alone will listen to the brook
And truly understand.