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Empedocles

Hear my words, Pausanius,


if you wish for mortal wisdom:
one alone grew out of many
then from this one many grew
againborn to burn our brief lives
witness littleswift to flyswift to die
swift to disappear like smoke from fire
while you are here trust in eye as in ear
in ear as in tonguetouch each thing
in its clarityI am here to help you
escape timeto evade old age
to remedy any illto calm savage winds
that ravage green fieldsI will help you
bring back breezesbring bright rain
from black droughtwelcome water
wherever its wantedbring back
from hell the strength of a dead mans
hand and dispel all darkness.

Four roots double-crosstwine
then come undonebirth doubled
doubles deathwhats nurtured
is destroyedwhats destroyed
gives birththing clings to thing
in incessant communionattractive
unionintegral love split by hateful
strifes spiteful knifewhat changes
cant changeall is cyclethere is no
stable lifeone from manymany back
to oneendlessly each crosses back
and forth again & againa two-fold
tale re-toldleft handright hand
charmedchiralasymmetric symmetry




burning Zeusbreathing Hera
buried Hadesweeping Nestis
from these roots our world blooms.

My heart is voicelessthere are
no birthsthere are no deaths
only a mingling of endings leading
to beginnings & beginnings leading
to endings & thing becoming thing
component roots into unityunity
into its rootswhat comes into being
is & will bewhat disappears
persists in whats to comeonly fools
think what is never wasonly fools
think a thing dead is gone forever
worlds precede & worlds abide beyond
the world we knowhear my words
listen to their echosound out of silence
silence out of soundone alone
out of manymany out of one
pillars of fire, earth, waterimmense
column of airfighting one another
anger omnidirectionallove coeval
& commensuratesuns exhalations
gods foodrains dreamearths
nightmareswhat strife splits love binds
what love binds strife splitstrees
to their seedmen & women become
their childrenbeasts, birds & fish
gods, demons, ghostsfor everything
there is another it will becomechange
will change us until we change with
a constancy we cant change.




As a paintercunning in his craft
frames from his primary colors a harmony
of trees, men, women, beasts, birds, fish
& gods on highso life is composed
dont let the merely mortal deceive you
listen to the words this God gives you
no legsno armsno kneesno eyes
the universe is equal to itselfat home
in what surrounds itkept immobile
by love itself until harmony submits
like a stretched string quivers just as its
plucked & strife begins to sing
his broken song & probes sameness
with his many limbs until his whirlwind
meets the stillness at the center of loves
vortex where mixed and un-mixed meet
where predator becomes preyprey
predatorwhere what runs away escapes
where what is pursued is capturedwhere
ephemeral diversity eclipses back
to original seed & seeds combine
to burst into countless mortal things.

Whats mortal learns immortality
un-mixed remixes mixedwonder follows
wondertribe begets tribeuntil
extinction begets genesis & genesis begets
its ends only to begin againfirst air
next firethen earththen from the spinning
earthan oceanwind over waterstars
above windsun from firebodies out
of earthfirst one loose limb then another
un-attached faces in need of necks



arms with no shouldersisolate eyes
in search of socketsfrom these fragments
monsters comesome neutered at calamitous
conjunctionothers worthy of procreation
male & female mixed indiscriminately
random parts coalescing with random parts
until each creature finds their formox
becomes oxleopard achieves leopard
men become menwomen become women
hair, leaves, feathers & scales become
what they must beeggs are olives &
olives are eggsbroken back bones bend
nothing moves but by love & strife contending
neither stronger than the otherneither
weaker than they need bethe parts
Aphrodite calls together bond as intensely
as those same parts contend when strife
calls them apartstillness invites disturbance
disturbance subsides to calmdeath welcomes
birth & birth invites an end to its beginning
shining sun sets only to risefire welcomes
fireearth & air greet oceanalive
& separatehateful & wholetumultuous
& tetheredevil & alonesacred & profane
blessd & bedeviledunity contested
harmony divined inside angers anodyne.

Like to like as eyes to fireear to sound
tongue to tastetouch to substancescent
to breaththought to thoughtpuzzle piece
to puzzle piece or else ignorance to ignorance
in misunderstood emptinesslimbless
mind alone inhabits with swift thought every





corner of the cosmosburn no creatures
flesh on course altarseat nothing God
inhabits or man may become on his
necessary journeyearth yields to earth
water to waterbright air to bright air
fire to all-consuming fireblood in balance
balances the heartwhere thought resides
wisdom matures in the moment our eyes open
in order to understand me stand still & empty
your mindlet the pure stream of my words
wash over you as the muse accompanies us
as we drive in her chariotobedient to the reins
on our way to where we are boundkeep
my words deep inside you & contemplate
them so you may grow as you were meant
to grow into the God I am become.