Inner Demons and Newness by Ron Price

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For some there is a growing ability to cope with their inner demons and to achieve a degree of self-mastery that is highly prized; for others there is an acute sensitivity to suffering that cannot find escape in humour, pleasure and the delights of existence. Severe trials and hardships cause the nature of some people to recoil so that they desire death, desire to leave this world of honey and posion. -Ron Price with thaks to ‘Abdul-Baha, Selections, Haifa, 1978, p.239.

They’ve gone down like flies:

Poe in the gutter,
Crane over the side of a ship;
Kees and Berryman over a bridge,
Maupassant to syphilitic breakdown
and alcoholic poisoning,
Beckett to a stoic pessimism,
Sartre to the horror of existence
and its Nausea, Waugh and Green
to futility, Lovecraft and Faulkner
to the past and sadness,
Dostoevsky to a compulsion to suffer,
or to live in shame as in Strindberg,
to pleasure and the tragic as in Wilde
and the necessary deceptions
of Catholicism as in Yeats.

We all go down:

with our joys and sorrows,
our spiritual accomplishments and failures,
our pockets of detchment and self-love,
tested and stretched to acquire those tools,
soon, so soon to find the gifts of mysteries
and secrets far beyond this Kingdom of vision
on an arc bound for God. Will I be a pure,
refined and sanctified soul? In this world
beyond struggle, where the identity of my soul
is the same and I will receive light upon light
through entreaties, supplications and grace.
I will move beyond stubborn and obstinate
pride and willful perversity, their enfeebling
atrophy and ultimate incapacity; or, perhaps,
I may slip from my spiritual orbit and fly
irretrievably into remoteness beyond those magnetic
forces into an icy cold hell of frenetic passivity.
Having gone down, beyond this temporary shelter,
I will make my way beyond this world of liquid
nitrogenous oxygen and starry grandeur to an
unimaginable newness.

Ron Price
3 March 1996