Thoreau

Facts and Truth

by Amy Belding Brown

We can pose and posture grandly;
we can argue fact and case.
We can doubt the source of knowledge;
and mistrust the hero's face,
can confuse fact with fiction,
and the other way around;
we can drown ourselves in data
with both feet on the ground.
But Henry's way was different,
for he wasn't seeking fact --
his pursuit went beyond
mere statistical contact.
What Henry sought was wisdom
and intimacy with truth;
it was for this reason only
that he lived as Nature's sleuth.
He once told his friend this story --
how he'd climbed a tall white pine
and found at the tip a blossom
of magnificent design.
No one else had ever seen it
rising lovely in its prime.
But he who seeks life's beauty
must be prepared to climb.
What others do not perceive
is the mystic's task to earn,
and Henry did not shirk this;
he knew what we must learn:
that life has no requirement
to play the scholar's part --
for Truth is found in story
married to the heart.

September 21, 2000

Copyright © Amy Belding Brown