This is it (AJ)

This is it (AJ)
This ground this dream these myths 
This time this place this river 
We broken people, this ugliness, this empty, 
Not yonder, not elsewhere, not the fault of, 
None of this caused by causes accessible 
To ology, ism or hate;
There's been no mistake here, no wrong turning: 
This is the sum of our fate 
This is it
This is where we stand and make choice, 
See what we've done and accept it as ours, 
Read the world till it comes transparent 
And then be ready for Voice, 
For loosening the grip of matter from our minds: 
Re-assertion of the Infinite 
Re-admission of the Divine 
This is it
This hysteria this ignorance these cages 
These times this violence this darkness: 
They're what we believe and feel - written on the world
And when we sicken of looking at shadows 
We can look for the light within. 
There is light but first we find 
What throws the shadows
      Bitter reckoning, painful wrestling, guilt 
Quite startling, to minds unused to struggle, 
Consciences accustomed to blame another.

       Ah then the stories become realities 
       Then the myths grow wings and fly
       Then the creatures we tidied away 
       Come back to sting and cackle and cry

      Ah then the mind begins to wander 
      Then the mask begins to crack 
      Then one tear that slips unasked for
      's welcome like mercy to soul on the rack

For see how badly we've treated the earth: 
We have denied there was feeling in feeling things 
We have denied there was life in living things 
We have extinguished and mutilated species 
We have analysed the adrenalin of frightened creatures 
Wearing blinkers, we have said: 'I can't see it'.
Clad in iron, we have said: 'I can't feel it'. 
We have handled butterflies with tongs and said: 
'This is nothing but fragments'.

All to be reckoned, all to be paid for 
By each living soul 

If unsure, then good, for therefore attention 
If lost, then good, for therefore find 
If pain, then good, for therefore openings 
If alone, then good, for therefore listen 
If hardship, then good, for therefore strength 
If poor, then good, for therefore simple 
If death, then good, for therefore birth
Alan Jackson

from Salutations: Collected Poems 1960-1989 (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1990)

Reprinted by permission of the author
Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson is a Scottish poet and writer who established influential poetry readings at the Edinburgh Festival in the 1960s. 

Read more about this poet