The Tyranny of I

                              The Tyranny of I

Late summer afternoon, July,
Sabastian Sprott mused
on the tyranny of I,
how often lines he wrote and read
were egged on by ego,
the pain suffered by I,
the joy felt by I,
his meditations moved him so,
he thought, only to write
in the third person
was the way to go.
Yes, maybe, in his lines,
he could identify he as I,
but other times,
he was most definitely a character,
one removed from him,
strangely free of him,
and most certainly not him,
one he could watch,
subtly, help him move
in his own way,
his own world occupy,
a character in a novel
who was not the author’s I.
First person narratives,
he noted, from literary opinions
that he pondered with his eye,
some readers frowned upon,
partly because of
the constant use of I.
Word flow, guided by ego,
some resented, were repelled by,
a truth he wanted to untie.
What about verse, he wondered.
Do readers like it so
when poets only write of I,
their word flow guided by ego?
Some eastern faiths, he knew,
advised freedom from I,
even the death of I,
to reach a clearer, higher state,
but he never wished to go that far,
be that close to death,
while still his body breathed.
No, that state, if so like death, could wait.
But he did not want his I
to be his ruler absolute.
In his next essay, perhaps,
would advise poets to try
to write in the third person,
at least, sometimes,
and to consider what it means,
the tyranny of I.
To save himself from his own
tyranny of I,
he often wrote in third person he,
but he also knew that I
a goodly, kindly ruler could be.
Freedom from I, serenity,
cleansed of I, single eye
open to eternity.
Grand words. Still, he knew
he could write as a fictional he.
Detachment from I, tranquillity.
Extinguishment of I, peace within,
not being, one open eye
seeing space, within, without, peace.
Shakespearean soliloquy,
where would that be
without thoughts on I?
But who speaks,
the playwright or the player?
Descartesean reductionism
came to I think, therefore I am.
A satisfying conclusion.
Frankenstein’s fiend
had no name, no soul, no I,
friendless, he blundered to his death,
under the vast, unpitying sky.
Frankenstein only thought of I
when his fiend he stitched together,
not of his fellow humans,
but of making his mark
to outlast the weather.
I this, I that, I in pain, I not in pain,
I in hate, I in love,
I nowhere, I with wish elsewhere.
Outside his windows,
watched cumulus clouds
accumulate in the sky,
and felt the friendly force,
not the tyranny of I.

 

 

 

 

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