A Riff on Abstraction by Richard Katrovas

Evil is the systematic substitution of the abstract for the concrete.

– Sartre

As in “concrete” as well as “abstract,” and though
I cannot help but wonder if a system,
constructed for the purpose of control,
contrasting with all systems found in nature,
is doomed to doom all that it must contain.

And how may we regard the paradox
Of systems grounded in desire for freedom?
The civilizing impulse is control
Of all that is sustaining and fecund.

Each child of mine I’ve held, fresh from the flesh
Of her mother, has been a joy incarnate,
The word made flesh to my decaying flesh,
An object of intense, sustained regard

Beyond the auspices of abstract nouns.
I wish each one freedom from her father.
As all dances are systems of movement,
I wish each one ecstatic movement through

The backstage doors of “pain” and “fear” and “sorrow,”
Onto the boards before an audience
Of angels, demons, and divine accountants
All weeping at the end, applauding madly.

Featured in Issue One of New Lyre Magazine

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