by David D. Hambleton


My father gave me a map his father'd given him.

I looked upon it and familiar it was, but I knew it not.

The language and the design were beyond all my art.

It seemed a handy thing, rolled and bound nicely.

I knew how to use such things, so it served me well;

As I swatted flies and my girlfriend's behind with it,

Then tossed it on the shelf where it gathered dust.

A wise man I encountered in a moment of pain

Told me of the map's worth in my search for the truth,

So down it came from high on its perch.


Admireit, I did, as I unfurled it from binding.

The leather shone softly, well tanned, inked, and oiled.

A permanence set it apart from all that is temporal.

Runes and symbols of landscape were drawn on it,

But overlain it mismatched against every chart I knew.

I could not connect it with the decrepit ground where I stood. 

On the back simple text told a story too straightforward

Of a lover and beloved and love broken and restored.

In the story was a message interwoven, obvious but cryptic.

Considering it may be a clue to the map,

I studied and memorized and elaborated on the story.

I shared it with friends who claimed I'd a madness.

I found even my dad didn't really understand,

Though he'd got the best of the matter of the story.

His means of walking that path were unthinkable to me,

And so I gave up on that line of reason,

Assaying to work directly on the symbols and runes.


Try as I might, study as I could,

Delving in on cold dark nights and bright sunny days,

The mystery eluded my feeble fickle mind.

On certain occasions I'd catch just a glimpse

Of a meaning or a reason or a forerunner to follow.

So I followed that trail as best I could

Through fetid fearsome fen and high on glorious mountain.

Sometimes I found myself and landmarks were clear,

Walking and running and floating on water or air.

Soon enough, I'd find I'd left the old marked chart,

Following my own notion about the where the path lay.

The map said that way, but I thought this looked smoother,

Or the map was indecipherable so I tried to invent

Some track of my own through serpentine hedges

That led off to ruin or perilously close.


My Odyssean path crossed the seas both of hope and despair,

Down through the grand valleys of Ego and Id.

Almost I was lost there at the quiet Pool of Introspection,

Where Self Condemnation and Self Aggrandizement lurk;

Side by side, pride by pride, complimentary killers

Waiting and baiting in that humanist soup


I admired the works in the galleries there.

Some showed me the tormented souls of their artists,

At once beautiful and atrocious, some just atrocious.

Animated beetles; a petty, vindictive inferno;

A nondescript painting captured the pain of a scream;

Andanother the disjointedness of time and everything.

In medicine they construed to duplicate life,

And argued in legality to take it at will;

Claiming Euthanasia and "Unviable tissue mass";

The kinder of evils to existence in this world.


Arguments are there waged in volumes of text

By degree-laden bullies who abuse genuine explorers;

Educated beyond their intelligence's capacity,

Deifying divining mysteries of our marvelous minds,

Reifying knowledge in a semantic shell game.

Their wisdom ne'er surpassing their knowledge's lead.

Psychoses and Neuroses hang as overripe fetid fruit.

Faux-foreign language indicts insecure listeners.

Charges are brought boldly, substantiated by blather,

With no point but supposition as to meaning and end.

Points bought with foul logic and on impolite topics,

Not to be comfortably countered in decent company.

They victimize the young and innocent we send them,

Feeding red meat to pups, creating bloodthirsty killers

From unwitting young wanderers feeling for their way.

Deconstructing creation to rationalize theories,

They violate nature and science itself

In ever-more vain attempts to avoid the old map.


The map.

That map

Why such grievous pains to circumvent?

Why so much lovely energy spent

God-envying, linguistically verdant

Expressing in vanity the self-important

Will as though, being from the map rent,

As though, being any other way bent,

Might cover one with some better tent

Than the one which to find we all were meant

By our spiritual cartographer, ever benevolent


The shadow of death hung heavy o'er those valleys

Where Homeric heros fought like hell in their galleys

Seeking to carve out a niche of some fame

An excuse for salvation in a humanist's game

Like them, Plato and Freud grasped at gutteral glory

But in the end they push daisies, just more of the gory


As I walked, I gazed, in shock and then fear

For the map began showing me things I held dear

Things for the life of me I wanted to bless

But try as I might, I just made them a mess

No doubt about it, I was under attack

Before I knew it, I fell flat on my back

Knocked from my feet I was cowering with dread

And hid under what I had, the map, over my head

The runes and the symbols and story came clear

My blind eyes could see and my deaf ears could hear

The guns kept firing, cracking my crust

The rounds were on point, but in the map I could trust

The more that I trusted, the more I could see

That there was provision planned in there for me

Provision, protection from all of humanity's piranha

A hiding place from the need to reach for nirvana


Then, just as I was learning again to believe,

I noticed a thing I found hard to conceive.

From the map itself, I was taking friendly fire.

Blown away were my greed and my pride in the pyre.

The shots came in salvos remarkably well aimed

From a single old Canon, the only one claimed

By a marksman not missing or fouling one shot

As the map everything needed, wanting nothing, had got.


Now I busy myself earning a wage and wiping noses,

Kissing bruised knees and needful lips, bringing roses;

Holding the hurting and allowing some to hold me;

Healing the sick and feeding the poor and hungry;

Standing up for those without the wherewithal;

Upholding a standard, saving some from the fall;

Teaching those who have eyes to see and ears and will hear,

How to not be distracted from love by all they hold dear

How to get by in this life and on to the next

And not to be victims, intellectually vexed.

And I fight for the right and the freedom to so shine,

Though not by some grandiose scheming of mine;

But right where I fit in a plan made before time;

A plan with lovely harmony, meter, and rhyme.

I cannot conceive the entire course set before me,

Just a step at a time lit by lamp at my knee

As I crouch to pass through a gate seemed too small

For as a camel at the eye of a needle, I'm too tall.

Lit not by my knowledge or wisdom hard bought,

But by light from the map itself am I taught.


Down the road as intended as best I know how

I run the race as to win, no longer envious now

Of those consumed with perfecting style and form

Digressing acceptably from somebody's norm.


As best I can hear past my ego and my id

There's now a voice deep inside that the Spirit has hid.

As best I can see past all I've done in my power;

Led pace by pace, hill by hill, and hour by hour;

Its plain to see why Solomon claimed it vanity;

That being every effort of frail humanity.

All effort to fly as an eagle made me weep.

I've been lifted higher by following meekly as a sheep.



I see now the lover is G-d, loving me.

Love broken and restored is our Messiah on that tree.

Loving G-d and my neighbor is what life is of.

Here on the path I know indelible peace, hope, and love.


Our Father drew us a map.

I look upon it and know it now.

For when I was a child, I spake as a child,

I understood as a child, I thought as a child:

but when I became a man, I put away childish things.