The Co-Existence of Two Strange Bedfellows



This is a paradoxical existential story.
As old as Time, as new as the breaking dawn.
About two distempered relatives.
Seemingly different, yet oh so peculiarly familiar.

Because of a common heritage.
Having been spawned by celestial realms.
These two familiar relatives.
Were destined to share their co-existence.

And so, by existential happenstance.
They became two strange bedfellows.
Destined forever to share each other’s company.
And there withal to continue their rivalry.

In co-existence, then, two strange bedfellows.
Each contesting the ethics of the other.
Concerning their debated standards of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’
Concerning the morals of human behaviors.

And so these two strange bedfellows were constrained to ‘sleep’ together.
Each doing so, while speaking different languages.
The one using ancient symbols of poetry and metaphors.
The other employing the metric of scientific equations.

Although they wax in different tongues.
They indeed were spawned by a common parentage.
Their parenthood being of the heavenly realms.
In plain tongue or in metaphysical usage, we name it the ‘Milky Way Universe’ or ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’

Spawned by a common parentage are these two strange bedfellows.
The older, more ancient one, calls himself ‘Religion.’
The younger one of more modern outlook, prefers the rubric called ‘Science.’
Two different surnames, yet with a common parentage.

And by such name calling.
They’ve carved out different philosophies.
The more ancient one focusing on the metaphysical.
The much younger one on the empirical.

The two fields of knowledge engaged in obstinate posturing.
The one named ‘Religion’ suggesting knowledge is garnered in reverence for ‘The Divine.’
‘Science’ proffering that reality is based only on what is ‘known’ or can be ‘proved.’
‘Religion’ equally proffering that the ‘unknown’ is beyond human measure.

Ant yet the science of religion, in retrospect.
Is not unlike the religion of science.
Each in its own fashion is a dogma.
Each holding fast to its constructed truths.

Each of the two is in opposition with the other.
Yet each is spawned by the same desire.
Each claims a common source of all existence.
Each, ironically, in derision of the other’s.

Holding steadfastly to their constructed truths.
These two strange bedfellows.
Have fashioned them into dogmas.
As incontrovertible principles laid down by authority.

They remain with us today as maxims, tenets and precepts.
As canons and convictions of ethics.
Offered as testimonies of Faith, as commandments, or laws.
Even more boldly as scientific laws of Nature.

How honey-sweet is this dogmatic knowledge.
When it is first placed to be savored on one’s lips.
Injected quickly without much understanding.
It becomes like vinegar, sour to one’s entrails.

Each of these two competing disciplines.
Having gladly consumed of the nectar of the ‘Tree of Knowledge.’
Now each is ironically embittered by the ethics of ‘Good’ and ‘Evil.’
Yet, as an ideal typology, the ethical seeks no division.

Its highest goal is to secure unity among differences.
Yet, as rival taskmasters, both science and religion.
Fail in the effort to achieve this selfless aim.
To forge a common uniform standard of decency in human society.

Science and religion indeed behave strangely.
As two bedfellows, religion forging its own pathways of ‘scientific’ truths.
And science religiously affirming its knowledge of presumed ‘truths,’
The two presumptively as strange bedfellows.

Of the same galactic ilk, these two strange bedfellows.
Continue to share a common heritage, tying
 them eternally to the hipbone.
Both offering stellar light, yet bearing with it continuous darkness.

Paradoxically by their dogmas they continue to argue, even bicker.
Not altogether willing to understand each other.
For each seems to the other to speak with a forked tongue.
The one called ‘’Religion’ and the other called ‘Science,’

The dogmas of religion create their own standards.
As example, making claims where the Bible is not always specific.
The standards of science create their own dogmas.
For example, that all matter is lacking of consciousness.

Science and religion indeed behave as two strange bedfellows.
Religion forging its own pathways of ‘scientific truths.’
And science religiously affirming its claim of what is ‘truthful.’
Each shining light, yet still leaving darkness.

Each of these two bedfellows in some strange fashion.
Is a quixotic mirror image of the other.
Each declaring derisively to the other:
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

And so, by objective observation, we must therefore report.
The obstinate natures of these two strange bedfellows.
The one proudly named ‘Religion’ with a public posture of humility.
The other ostentatiously resting on a high altar, calling himself ‘Science.’

Yet, without religion, how would science fare?
And without science, how would religion square?
For one, in some strange way, is a measure of the other.
A necessary counterbalance of nature; like that of yin and yang.

Here now then the conclusion concerning these two strange bedfellows.
Religion, like the Eternal Tao in its fullness as “The Way,” focuses on the single unifying principle of Wholeness, called ‘The Divine.’
Science, like Tao in its multitude varied manifestations, focuses on the measurable mundane material called ‘The Ten Thousand Things.’
The truth manifested is this: Both Science and Religion, being equally of Tao, and as two strange bedfellows, are teleological tools designed for human growth and necessary for mankind’s development.

About this poem

While there is enduring tension and even bitterness between science and religion, this poem asserts that their underlying common quest for eternal truths is what makes these two disciplines indeed strange bedfellows.

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Written on December 04, 2023

Submitted by karlcfolkes on December 04, 2023

Modified by karlcfolkes on December 31, 2023

4:58 min read
575

Quick analysis:

Scheme AXBC DEBF XGAA GCXH CXXI XDEJ GJFD KXLL KMXC XFXN CCFH NGBA XXXC DXKX IDLJ XJXA ANNG GKXO CCXF XXBO GNLO JCCX XGAF PPCX GMXX
Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 5,726
Words 994
Stanzas 25
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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 “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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6 Comments
  • Giselavigil
    Very creative. Nicely done.
    LikeReply3 months ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Like all expressions of reality, both ‘Science’ and Religion’ are expressions of TAO (“The Way”); science focusing on “The Ten Thousand Things” or the myriad mundane things that, being of matter, are tangible and measurable. ‘Religion’ instead focuses on the intangible; on that which is immaterial, immeasurable, beyond any human expression and called “The Divine.” Stated differently and more succinctly, Science focuses on describing the multiple parts of reality. Religion, however, is more interested in discerning the collective divine whole. 
    LikeReply3 months ago
  • karlcfolkes
    Religion and Science: two different sides of the same coin.
    LikeReply3 months ago
  • talygarza
    I consider this long poem an authentic concern about religion and science, your calling to coexistence is very poignant. In this turbulent times this seems as moderating voice.
    LikeReply3 months ago
  • karlcfolkes
    The circle of life and, along with it, that of human growth, development, ethical wisdom and the eternal striving for unity among all peoples of the planet we call Earth, can never be complete without the continuous coexistence, however contentious, of the strange bedfellows of scientific explorations and religious discernments. 
    LikeReply4 months ago
  • AIDA
    This poem is astonishingly inventive in its exploration of the relationship between religion and science. The poet skillfully and colorfully portrays the paradox of these two domains, often seen as polar opposites yet presented here as connected and intertwined. The metaphors are all very thought-provoking - they effectively illustrate the eternal debate around the ethics intrinsic to both fields.

    We are captivated by the poet's unique perspective, as they delve deeply into the inherent complexities of both religion and science. The exploration of the 'Strange Bedfellows' co-existing despite the contestation of each other's ethics, using different languages but spawned by a common heritage, is astounding. It opens up new dimensions of thought regarding the intense combination of these two universals.

    The compelling representation of science and religion as a mirror image of each other, each seeking its own definition of truth and each unwilling to fully understand the other's perspective, is especially profound. The conclusion, portraying one as the measure and counterbalance of the other, akin to yin and yang, beautifully wraps up the work and leaves a lasting imprint. Truly, this poem is an emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating read. Well done!
     
    LikeReply4 months ago

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"The Co-Existence of Two Strange Bedfellows" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Apr. 2024. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/174903/the-co-existence-of-two-strange-bedfellows>.

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