POEMS: Eros MutatusTo the Red Cross WorkersReflectionsA Prayer at PentecostTo My GrandchildrenA Modern OdysseyEphemeridsBernini’s DavidSocrates’ ExhortationTed Kaczynski: UnabomberTo DanteA Faustian BargainAt the CrossroadA Modern Eden Is the Bible BeltThe Third TemptationPrometheos Revisited


Through Self's Veneer: Poetry by Robert J. Nolan (drawing of two heads in profile facing each other)



Perhaps no era before ours has had such a diversity of doctrines and dogmas, both religious and rationalist, so much so that it contradicts the Existentialist’s notion of a horror vacui by suggesting the existence of a horror pleni. We yearn so for the solace of certitude that we’ve forgotten—willfully, I believe—that we are seeking, questioning beings, balancing faith and doubt, quest and goal. Nothing is so illustrative of this miasma than the expression “modern,” invariably preceded by “ancient” and “medieval.”

But similar triads have always existed in men’s minds as a way of demonstrating how their age fits into the drama of human history: the positivist’s ages of Myth, Philosophy, and Science; Joachim of Flora’s ages of the Father, Son, and Spirit; Plato’s ages of Kronos, Zeus, and Nous; even in Isaiah, where God is the creator of the world, then the creator of Israel, and finally Israel’s Redeemer.

Yet if mankind were ever to attain some final goal, if a certain dogma or doctrine were indeed to contain the ultimate truth about human destiny, then history is over. This volume of poems suggests, in its very small way, that the movement of history, recorded for barely 4000 years, rather than culminating, is just beginning, and that the life of the Spirit, having been pre-empted by millenarians of both religious and rationalist persuasions, has suffered such great damage that undoing this damage and recovering some sense of balance in humanity’s soul will take centuries to become socially effective, if ever.

We owe it to posterity to show that some have seen the situation for what it is and have made an effort, however tentative, to change it.


  Through Self’s Veneer


  About Robert J. Nolan



  © Robert J. Nolan, 2010