Chameleon II

The conflict between doing
what is right and what I want
no longer exists, bargain made long ago
to check impulses back, years
after the rebellion.

What is it that compels us
to harm ourselves and others
through the careless daring
of youth obsessed with boundaries,
the pushing, pulling, testing tepid waters,
willing them to boil over
or freeze solid, if only
to delight in the dramatic;

How easily we forget wonder
in a world overfull of that which promptly
transforms into ordinary; taking
for granted becoming commonplace.

Like a chameleon losing its grip
and grabbing fast with curled tail
onto the nearest branch, we seek ground
in the new normal, the old swiftly
becoming passe, bland, banal;
bright hues fading fast
in the headlong rush to stand out
while all too quickly blending
in, current rushing towards shore,
sweeping us back
into the sea of humanity.

2016-04-09 03.24.39
Jackson’s chameleon in our backyard 2016

10 thoughts on “Chameleon II

  1. “What is it that compels us to harm ourselves and others ….” The question of our time. And I have very little hope that I shall die, whenever that will be, without knowing the answer. Powerful post!

    1. Paul, it is the question, is it not? I’ve often wondered why such a tremendously creative species chooses to devise new forms of torture for one another and for helpless creatures. Even young kids do this! Is it conditioning? Television and the media? Frustration at feeling powerless? Bad genes? My eldest sister used to pull wings off of butterflies and watch their bodies crawl around. She would place giant green katydids in my hair, which terrified me and got a good laugh out of her. I was very young, but I never forgot it. And she’s a good person, on balance. What makes humans do such things? I don’t think we are inherently evil, but there is something that does not settle, here. Even the best among us are not angelic; we’ve all learned what ‘not’ to do from evaluating our own and others’ actions. So, like you, I will likely leave this precious planet not knowing the answer.

      Thank you for your kind words. Aloha!

  2. Wonderfully articulated truth Bela! What an apt symbol! Chameleons are all around us…luring us with their pleasing colors and sweet talk, masked pretenders unleashing their own rage and frustrations onto us…certain questions are beyond the comprehension of the kind and the forgiving. ‘delight in the dramatic’ is the line that appeals most to me and probably holds the key to all those lose their ‘angelic’ qualities.
    Thanks for sharing such a profound thought.

    1. Thank you, dear Balroop. I find it far easier to forgive in kids what is much more difficult to forget in adults. I’ve not been perfect in my life, that’s for sure. But I’ve always wanted to do the best thing, and in the end, after hurt feelings and/or frustration and/or anger abate, I am left feeling remorseful and sorrowful for whatever part I’ve played. I certainly admit it and seek constantly to improve and get clearer about what truly resides in my heart. Which is far, far easier now than it was when I was young and confused. My concern is for those who never feel remorse; who would repeat harmful actions upon other unsuspecting loved ones, again and again – some of it downright heinous. As the Hawaiians say, Auwe! Peace and Aloha.

  3. “The conflict between doing what is right and what I want no longer exists.” There’s the whole story, right there, and it’s mine too. The in-between phase, for me, was 25 years of rigidly adhering to Buddhist precepts. Now I no longer need to. You arrived at harmlessness similarly, Bela, and it was nothing to do with you, or moral precepts, or the rigid mind adhering to anything. Huge respect to you. _/\_

    1. Hariod, I love poetry, for all its nuances and inferences. I love how each person interprets, and I love the feedback I get from this wonderful WP community. Each one of you here kindly provides very personal and meaningful feedback to me; something I simply (once again) love about blogging. The immediacy of it; the intimacy, in a way, of it, as well.

      For so many writers, getting published is The Reason they write. Seeing their words being leafed through in a book produces the impetus, fans the desire, fulfills the dream. For me, it’s simply that I’ve had little choice but to write down what flows through so beautifully from whatever source, and then honoring that source by doing the best I can in crafting the ideas into words. I do have fun with it and always have.

      That being said, I am most gratified hearing your take on this piece, for you single out the spark that ignites the whole piece; the seed that germinates into flower in the subsequent rambling verse. It seems you are, like me, a gardener, even if you never lay hands to soil. It’s the desire to bring ideas to fruition in this case, nurturing beginnings until they reveal their true nature.

      And for that, I am most grateful for your presence here. Aloha, dear one ❤

  4. What indeed compells youth to act as they do. It is not only the Young though..

    I can no longer fathom the minds of those who get their kicks out of destroying things or hurting others.. The lack of love would be easy to me to say..
    I sometimes wonder at the brain washing and desensitizing of human nature.. That many think life is a virtual reality game.. As so ingrained within them is this desire to destroy everything..
    Yet thankfully not all are the same… Many of our Youth are caring and compassionate and are champions for the environment..

    A thought provoking piece Bela ❤

    1. Aloha, Sue! I read your comment but was so tired I didn’t want to respond half-baked. And no, it’s not only the young. Some never grow up and remain in that rebellion all their lives. Yet I can of course see ‘why’ young people must act out, for we would never leave hearth and home to ‘seek our fortune’ if it were not for that impetus, that drive. Back in agrarian times and before, family units were bigger, villages were smaller, people were more focused on survival. Now? Well, best explained by what my friend Ma’ata told me her daughter said when young. She had been raised in a city and raised vegetarian. But M never told her girls they couldn’t try any other kinds of foods when they went to friends’ houses to visit. They were taught to be polite. So anyhow, one of the girls had gone to a Puerto Rican friend’s house where the grandma had gone out back, selected a chicken from her small flock, chopped its head off and processed it for dinner. The girl came back home incredulous, and astoundedly asked her mom, “Mom! Did you know chicken comes from CHICKEN??” And with one more tidbit for thought: Hawaiians are fond of saying (in Pidgin English), “Dey got no’ting bettah ‘fo DO!” I think this sums up the misdirected energy of many, these days. Take care, dear one, and enjoy your weekend! ❤

      1. Thank you Bela, I smiled at that childs comment. I know of some city children who think meat come from supermarkets ready packed.. And who were shocked to learn it was a cow, pig, or lamb.. Worse still is that some had never seen a cow, pig or lamb.. I remember one project on TV to take some city school children to a farm, it was the first time they had seen an animal like that at all.. ‘Sigh’.. Yes I will have a busy weekend.. And like you over did it yesterday weeding and digging… so resting my back today 🙂 Love and Hugs my friend.. Sue xxx

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