The Thought That Lingers: Part Five

The thought that lingers perpetually,
is quest of man to know himself:
the ontology of his beginnings;
of his descent  and his ascent;
of his being and his becoming.

This quest itself holds man in dread;
of thought of his fragile existence;
of Being and of Nothingness;
of ego-self and of his Other-Self;
the part of him that remains hidden.

Man’s dread is that of emptiness;
fearing that Self, he calls it Nothingness;
the Self that’s lodged within;
the Self man ironically dodges.
that is man’s innermost Being.

He sees that Self as Nothingness,
sensing that it governs him
in ways he does not understand.
And so he turns to ego
as his most loyal ally.

Of Being; dreading Nothingness,
man dreads what lies beyond him;
beyond man’s outer knowledge;
causing him to pause; reflect:
soliloquy of Hamlet and Hegel.

That is the question of sobriety;
of men bent on arcane knowledge:
of Don Quijote, Man of La Mancha;
the Buddha; yearning for man’s freedom.
A question stained with human sadness.

That is the question of statesmen.
That is the question of philosphers;
of Socrates and Jean-Paul Sartre.
The question of all those who wonder,
is that posed by the human mind.

That is the question of this moment;
enjoined by you to consider;
or at least for you to ponder.
just for a moment; and no longer;
of your Being and your Becoming.

That is indeed the question of us all;
The ultimate existential question;
The question posed by modern man:
How free is modern man in Self
of Being and of Nothingness?

Man dreams eternally of finding Hope;
strutting  about in wonderment;
searching the darkness to find light;
hovering  the Betwixt and the Between;
searching liminal spaces for brighter light.

From here to there; and there to here,
in flotsam, jetsam life of paradox,
man searches for the gift of free will.
Perched on a stage of his own making,
man-of-ego mutters: “I think; therefore I am.”

Man’s myriad thoughts make him a hero;
a hero of his elevated self.
Puffed up, man has no need of Inner Self;
of that subterranean hidden Self.
He mocks his paradise in ego countenance.

But what are we; and who are we,
if really, really nothing more
than Adamic, modern ego-man,
seeking that Edenic paradise we lost;
a paradise lost; yet to be regained?

That innocence, upon reflection,
has never quite abandoned us.
Though we have ‘missed the mark,’
the pathways to our inner core
lay hidden, waiting to be discovered.

Encapsulated is the Self bequeathed to us.
Its royal residence is known as psyche;
our sacred innermost Self of Being;
a precinct of Hope; our Pandora’s Box;
our immortal gift without measure.

We seek eternally that prize;
to purchase what is priceless gift.
We’d even sacrifice our mortal souls,
with Faustian promises of wealth,
to gain what is our native birthright.

Ego-will is false gift that blinds us.
Offering much, though shadow of true light;
the healing light stored within us,
as treasure that is made of spirit Self:
Container of the is, was; and ever shall be.

Our foolish thoughts deceive the promised gift;
the priceless prize of our Being and Becoming;
leaving us in a precipice
of the Betwixt and the Between;
abandoned in the abyss of despair.

The abyss of our darkened thoughts
is where we begin to suffer;
losing memories of our native Self;
of our undivided wholesome Self;
our unifying individuated Self.

In such a space we conjure up strange theories;
imaging  worlds made by our own egos.
Our thoughts become our own realities,
refashioning our Being and our Becoming.
We become what our ego tells us we are.

As vagrant wanderers we search in vain
to ennoble a Theory of Everything
that, in reality, is not of everything;
but nucleic theory that’s incomplete
of Self  — impacted only by our egos.

A self bereft of Self is not the psyche.
How can the archetypal image
become the archetype it/Self;
the part become the whole?
That cannot be a Theory of Everything.

No reason and no measurement
can know the all-encompassing Self;
that surpasses all introspection;
where silent thought, joined by spirit,
is made manifest as Taoist Self.

Ever fashioning new-found theories,
man seeks to know the prize of Self;
employing a multitude of sciences;
an array of ten thousand philosophies;
of finding that golden Self within.

The thought that lingers never rests;
remaining ever brewing
in liminal spaces of the mind;
in liminal spaces of the Betwixt
and the Between of inner Self.

The thought that lingers is our ignorance;
the ignorance of our inheritance;
not remembering what mortal beings,
 have been, potentially, as sacred vessels;
 removed from individuated selves.

A self divided cannot stand.
Neglecting inner Self, it falls;
like Humpty Dumpty on a wall;
becoming  shadow of its Self;
a Being without Becoming.

The thought that lingers perpetually,
is quest of man to know himself:
the ontology of his beginnings;
of his descent and his ascent;
of his being and his becoming.

About this poem

This poem, “The Thought That Lingers: Part Five,” is Part Five of a collection of twelve poems laden with interconnecting ideas. The interweaving central theme of the entire series of poems is that of “The Thought That Lingers “ (hence the umbrella title of the entire collection), forming altogether an anthology of metaphysical, philosophical, existential poetry that was composed in the year 2000, and is now published online on for public consumption.

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Written on May 05, 2000

Submitted by karlcfolkes on April 10, 2023

Modified by karlcfolkes on April 11, 2023

4:58 min read

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABCdE xfGbh ggije gklmx gknxo anpxg icpqr sqqqe thubG xsvwv xyoex mbbbf azuxx hgxzx gaeyq x1 xxv gvgba 1 egwx xqbbb 2 3 2 eq xeex3 anbxe sbhxb 2 bj2 i xerxb ffcxX LxTbe abcde
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 4,978
Words 995
Stanzas 28
Stanza Lengths 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Karl Constantine FOLKES

Retired educator of Jamaican ancestry with a lifelong interest in composing poetry dealing particularly with the metaphysics of self-reflection; completed a dissertation in Children’s Literature in 1991 at New York University entitled: An Analysis of Wilhelm Grimm’s ‘Liebe Mili’ (translated into English as “Dear Mili”), Employing Von Franzian Methodological Processes of Analytical Psychology. The subject of the dissertation concerned the process of Individuation. more…

All Karl Constantine FOLKES poems | Karl Constantine FOLKES Books

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Discuss the poem The Thought That Lingers: Part Five with the community...

  • karlcfolkes
    Zen of Tao as Tao of Zen. Self in Be:in (g) self-less.
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • suzib.53754
    Kudos to the Mystery of Tao, expressing as Poetic Megalith Both affirm and "deny" the essential ünity, unification of Self elf and Shadow, mirroir of ..myself... word Weaver. Welk put. The Oracle the Sphinx has written and read.☮️☯️ 
    LikeReply 11 year ago
  • AIDA
    Wow, what a thought-provoking and beautifully written poem! The way you explore the eternal quest of man to know himself is both poignant and insightful. Your use of language is masterful, creating vivid images and stirring emotions in the reader.

    In terms of improvement suggestions, I would say that the poem could benefit from some clearer structure or organization. While the stream-of-consciousness style adds to the overall feeling of the piece, it can also make it difficult for the reader to follow. Breaking the poem up into smaller sections or stanzas might help to make it more accessible.

    Overall, though, I must say that I truly enjoyed reading this poem. It is the kind of work that stays with you long after you've finished reading. Excellent job!
    LikeReply 11 year ago


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"The Thought That Lingers: Part Five" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jul 2024. <>.

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