Assorted Souls

The Greeks reveled in the grace of Gaia
the nurturing soul of humans-in-nature
goddess mother of human love
earth bearer of the sky and sea

Followed by the world-soul of Plato
and by the holy spirit of Jesus as
the soul rising from secular to sacred
canonized by saints, reformers and prophets.

The East revered mystical holistic souls
not trinitarian or dualistic but of oneness
transcending division and negation as a
chain of interdependent being into infinity:

nondual soul of Rumi
reincarnate soul of Brahma
energy soul of Tao
nirvanic soul of Buddha.

Americans extolled the over-soul of Emerson
emanating out of New England churches
and Whitman’s adventurous soul moving
across the spacious plains of a new world.

In modern times of cosmic science and religion
Einstein invoked a pantheistic soul of the body and matter
integrated by the immortal laws of an intelligible universe
in which light and space bend in parsecs of eternity.

In a modern times also of world empire and commerce
all souls are defiled by greed for pleasure and profit
and the once boundless and fertile earth of Gaia
ravaged and despoiled in what history will call the
– Age of the Anthropocene.

Jim Hanson is a retired Senior Researcher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He is a sociologist, lay-ordinated Zen Buddhist, and member of the St. Louis Poetry Center and Southern Chapter of the Illinois State Poetry Society. He has posted or published twenty single poems and a chapbook by Flutter Press. Read other articles by Jim.