The Flood

The world is a flood, a roaring flood
Of different voices and experiences
Each a call, a clamor for justification
Each drowning out all else

The song is shrill, fingers in ears
Eyes closed, mouth working
Streams that shatter instead of flow
(Just one sperm gets the egg)

Cast in the torrent we sink or swim
And in both the drift inexorable
Downward in the great dissipation
A waterfall of pure selfish Shout

By some chance an eddy forms
A silence outside the current
A strange vacuum we find, and
Hear ourselves for the first time

My great contribution to the world
My voice in its endless streams
Now in the beautiful stillness
Is heard as a strident “me, me, me”

In the clatter my voice was my own
As a puppet may be unique in all respects,
But still moved by the same strings:
Essence of chains though seeming free

In these backwaters there’s no need
To scream ourselves deaf in isolation
But listening together, a voice ex nihilo invades
Low frequency song from eternity past

The song was there in the flood
A hum of bass or treble dance of stars
But in the quiet heard for what it is
The tale of a different Stream altogether

Then a snake of a current grabs ahold
The quiet corner is no more
We disappear back into the noise
The striving to tell right from wrong

And we forget the sound of the voice
That alien song of still, deep pools
But we remember the memory,
And hope that by its magic
We might spin free from the flood once more

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

2 replies on “The Flood”

Took me a few times reading it, but I think I follow. Is a central theme the idea that we often enter into these messy, messed up things about our environments – thinking we are not valuable unless we speak or do something loudly enough to be applauded, and subsequently becoming untrue to ourselves and losing our identity in the process – without realizing that we are offered a choice otherwise, that we are valued even when we are still, and that in fact that we and the world were designed for something much more like the still than like the flood?

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