(On Dualism) 

“What but a Soul could have the wit
To build me up for Sin so fit?” 

(From Andrew Marvell’s ‘A Dialogue between the
Soul and the Body')

The brain, this squabby, fatty, fibrous mess
encased inside the nutshell of the brain,
assays the stars, confines electrons in a micro-chip,
assesses aeons from the very birth of time,
devises sick and vile atrocities
and soils our planet home with a ravenous greed.
This fungal growth, this watery cauliflower,
conceals our gelid hopes, congealed desires,
chained daemons which erupt
in odious, scabrous violence, or sublimate
to shine in music, arts and aspirations near
divine, lighting our passage through this vale of fears.

Those brainy minds, the quantum physicists,
inform us that an act of consciousness
creates from energy a solid mass,
transmogrifies the waves to particles
and thus constructs our gross material world:
refer to Schroedinger – his famous pussy cat.

If consciousness creates the physical,
it surely also conjures up the brain,
along with nutty skull, flesh, blood and bones,
then consciousness must rule, OK?
But wherein does this consciousness reside?
It cannot be the brain itself – for why?

For matter is inanimate, inert;
cannot create itself, and must obey
the motivation, activation of a mind.
Is mind synonymous with consciousness,
therefore? If so, the both must surely be
some form of  immaterial entity
endowed with power to create, make
manifest a whole material universe
by turning energy to mass. But how,
then, does a lump, a thing, become inspired
with all that energy, the force of life
which animates the smallest mite;
the tiger, microbe, or the whale, and makes
in spring green leaves unfurl and flowers bloom?                                                    
What is this force, if not the force of mind,
a universal consciousness in which,
perhaps, we share, each one in our small part?
The answer lies within the heart.

Malcolm Matthews

If you have any comments on this poem, Malcolm Matthews would be pleased to hear them.

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