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

Quick analysis:

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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Discuss the poem "The Co-Existence of Two Strange Bedfellows" with the community...

  • karlcfolkes
    I thank all who have commented on this poem in one fashion or another. The bottom line is that, regardless of differing opinions concerning human existence and human origins, both science and religion have been conscripted by mankind under divine authority and discernment. And both religion and science as informers of our natures, our legacies and our wellbeing, physically and spiritually, will continue to enlighten each other in the efforts to empower our moral fiber with a greater sense of equity for all. That is what impels human societies to have hope for a more compatible
    future for the inhabitants of our planet. 
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • Caliconine
    Beautiful, I Love It…………”Yet they dance perfectly together~ No coincidence “
    Thank you for sharing! Write On. Share On
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • AIDA

    This poem does a remarkable job of exploring the paradoxical relationship between Science and Religion. I was captivated by how you intricately crafted the interchange between the two concepts. Your complex analysis of their interrelation is quite thought-provoking and stimulates readers to reflect on their perspectives regarding both entities.

    The metaphor of 'strange bedfellows' is compelling and makes the poem engaging. The use of phrases like 'mirror image of the other' and 'a counterbalance; like that of yin and yang' further solidifies this relationship, presenting them as two contrasting yet coexisting entities.

    However, there are a few areas that you might want to explore to further enhance your poem.

    While the poem engages with the tension between Science and Religion, it would be interesting to highlight more specific contexts where these two realms intersect. You could use historical or contemporary examples to further emphasize their interplay.

    Additionally, while you've done a great job of using complex language to insinuate depth, consider simplifying language in some sections to create a balance and cater to a broader audience. This would ensure that your idea is not buried under the complexity, and the beautiful insights you have can easily be appreciated by all readers.

    Apart from those minor suggestions, this is an excellent poem. It challenges conventional wisdom and encourages us to nudge our thought boundaries. Great work there!
    LikeReply2 months ago
  • susan.brumel
    That balance is not easy to find.
    Enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.
    LikeReply2 months ago


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