Rehearsal

Consciousness can never objectify itself into
invalid-consciousness or cripple-consciousness …
—Maurice Merleau-Ponty,
‘The Phenomenology of Perception’

The knife’s rehearsal sharpens phrases that impress
And are meant to show the wearer in a state of dress
That is his state of mind.  If he has an ill body,
That is not the Me  of his mind’s face which, though resting
With the cripple’s body, says “I do not like this body’s face,
But would not change it for another.”  Or if his days
Are only numbers, and hours the decimals of a work
Which was meant to fill those days, and money their reward,
The cripple and his money sleep and dream together
And will not be lonely.  Tell the cripple or the handsome man,
Then, or the banker or the florist, if they are mad,
That their madness is the smallest part of them.  Say what is
— When it is not — to say what is possible and still true.
Say things that might, or things that can, and still be true.
Tell the chessman that he need not live in fear,
And the lover that love lives when the other  is not near.

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