Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

seraphimsigrist discussed a research project into the origins of a Latin phrase.
I stopped when I found the following poem:

Omnia Exeunt in Mysterium
By George Sterling

"THE STRANGER in my gates—lo! that am I,
And what my land of birth I do not know,
Nor yet the hidden land to which I go.
One may be lord of many ere he die,
And tell of many sorrows in one sigh, 5
But know himself he shall not, nor his woe,
Nor to what sea the tears of wisdom flow;
Nor why one star is taken from the sky.

An urging is upon him evermore,
And though he bide, his soul is wanderer, 10
Scanning the shadows with a sense of haste—
Where fade the tracks of all who went before:
A dim and solitary traveller
On ways that end in evening and the waste".

I always like the idea of those little wooden boats, which sail on small park ponds, with little handkerchief broadsails. They no doubt sail the sea where the tears of wisdom flow.

In modern times, one can run a radio-controlled boat through parts known without risk of anything more severe than a nip from an overeager bluegill. Yet piloting electronic boats does not, somehow, educate one on why any star is taken from the sky, as only wooden ships comprehend supernovas.

The whole notion is romantic, I suppose--the idea that a pre-scientific way of looking at things actually proved more accurate than the calipers and sonoscopes. Yet there is something about the notion of traditional ways--yet not, as AM radio would have it, as a hedge against reality, suppressed by the Food and Drug Administration (this year's replacement for the former regulator of reality, the Tri-Lateral Commission). Instead, the Demeter and Hades cycle merely reminds us that time changes us, as Mr. Bowie says, but we don't quite change time. Strange fascinations, indeed.

Sometimes I think, in a related vein, that the simplest virtues suffice. Self-sufficiency, interdependence, quiet insight, simple faith. Perhaps these "older ways" of looking at things
give one a kind of useful acceptance of what has been and what will be. Acceptance need not be resignation, but it must be more than the denials and despairs which plague and beset.

I like the idea of those wooden boats, setting out to sea, into a lake of tears, fed by springs of wisdom, for dim and solitary travels. All absorbed in mystery, elusive grace impossible to escape.

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