There is a poem in Thirsty Camel that I called "A New World Love." And oh my, does it ever have a story…
Some years ago, those words came to me. “A New World Love.” And I felt it immediately, all throughout my life. I felt the TRUTH in the words. It wasn’t even a completely pleasant experience. Sometimes, it shook me when they came to mind; sometimes, it was more like a haunting than an inspiration. It’s hard to describe when something just…hits us…way, way down deep. But this much was certain: the idea of “A New World Love” had ahold of me, and I was being called to write about it. But what would I say? The ideas started to form, and interestingly, it all began to coalesce when I realized that I needed to start with the old world.
Sure, I had some deep and potent sense that there could be “A New World Love.” This came first, almost out of nowhere, but it felt more like the ending than the beginning. After all, we don’t all begin our Paths as visionaries, healers, and prodigies of love. We have to go through the journey to get there; that was kind of the point. But where to start? To answer that question, I went to my own experiences. And though I’ve certainly not seen everything, I’ve seen enough to believe with some confidence that all of us, or at least most of us, seem to suffer a kind of conditioning that makes it very difficult to love another person. Perhaps you notice it too: that even when love begins in bliss, all too often it ends in searing fires, the grand construction of our relationship falling in pieces at our feet. This is the idea of the “old world”: that, at least at first, those conditioned ways of relating to love – the tactics and attitudes that we develop in our childhood homes – dominate our lives. And during this long season of learning, our fears, our neurosis, our woundedness and self-cherishing all come roaring forth on the battlefield of love. Sadly, for many of us, these fires rage too ferociously for us to escape unscathed.
If you would argue that such a grand drama – the metaphorical burning of Atlanta at the end of our own personal “Gone With the Wind” – happens for a reason, that there are lessons to be learned or a “greater plan” at play, I would agree. The idea of "A New World Love" suggests precisely this: that deep, karmic forces have been working on us since birth - or even before - and within them are lessons that we must learn. It is this journey from conditioning (the old world) into awakening (the New World) that seemed to be at the heart of this concept that called to me so deeply.
With the passing of time, we might find that the “wars of our fathers” can be outgrown. And as we continue to burn away at old patterns, behaviors, and antiquated attitudes – literally by means of working through them and integrating their lessons over time – slowly but surely, a new perspective can emerge. The lover has been spilling droplets of her own blood onto the scorched soil, nourishing it so that a new way of relating to love, relationships, and intimacy can begin to grow. And this is how, at last, a New World Love is born.
The wounds that we incurred in our childhood homes, those never-ending stories of suffering from our pasts, even our fears and sadnesses and patterned behaviors can all be overcome. Conditioning can be transcended. It can even be wielded as wisdom. And once that happens, what might love look like? How would our relationships transform once our hearts have realized A New World Love? As it goes with ecstatic poetry, I do not propose to have any answers, but I do have some ideas. And that is what this particular poem – one of the grander and more sweeping works that can be found in From the Back of a Thirsty Camel – is all about.
“A New World Love” is a poem in two parts. Part one is called “Causation,” and it explores, as I do here in this blog post, the root causes of the problem of love. It posits that there is, in fact, an “old world love” which is an evolving amalgamation, an ancestral patterning of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that is passed down from parent to child. Perhaps it is even, at least in part, stored in our collective unconscious. The preferred condition of the Universe, it seems, is that this old way would be passed down to us, downloaded choicelessly into to the heart of each newborn babe. Later on, it becomes something that we must face, a force that each human being must contend with if they are to uncover what the “New World Love” has in store for them.
The second poem, part two, is simply called “A New World Love.” It expresses just a few possibilities of what our loving relationships might look like, one fine day, when all of the old ways have been carried away by the winds of human living. From my heart to yours, here is part one of this work. This is the beginning of “A New World Love.”
The ending can be found in Thirsty Camel, true. But even better, it can be found by walking your own Path. From the old world to the New...
A New World Love
wouldn’t it be nice
if every child was given
all of the keys
to all of the doors
that hide away their own freedom?
but this is no more the way
than the baby robin who, newly-hatched,
stretches her wings
and attempts to fly
there is much to be learned
before that first flight
will take her onward
there is an old way
the way your father’s father
loved his son with calloused hands
the coaldust and shovel
called to him more deeply
than did the space between
his lover’s hips
the way your mother’s mother
loved her children
like she loved her dining room table
the perfect geometry of
every silver fork
a matter more dire
than her daughter’s dreams of fairydust
children don’t come simply from mother and father
an aching sigh were it so simple!
we are born instead
into a tangle far older
web of causation that our ancestors wove
a puritan’s belt buckle shoes
laced too tightly for the babe to breathe
love brought mother and father together
but human conditioning propagates
like a current across the wire
it reaches out from black-and-white photos
and slips its oily fingers
into the hearts of all
a breath ageless
unexplained longing for more
thoughts of loving-kindness
spirit sleeps soundly until it awakens at last
is it karma? was it designed this way?
the children don’t know
what is certain is the truth
that becomes clear
when they are children no longer:
there is a new world love
© 2015 Brandon Thompson