Wayne Lanter

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Edinburgh Reading Room

this is a city built on faith
seeking salvation safety
fifteen-hundred-years ago
vassals constructed churches
castles on lava fields
above five dormant or extinct volcanoes
still business goes on
today a university girl
encased in an information booth
doesn't remember David Hume
shunned as he was in his lifetime
by academies of Anglicans
although she has good reason
after what he did
she may be nothing more
than doubtful perceptions
may not exist at all
except in what she can collect
in the limited net of her senses
in desperation she offers
directions to a modern
library of self-assured
sophisticated keepers who explain
in seventy-six they celebrated
the bi-centennial of Hume's demise
then lead the way to a secluded room
where hands of whitest cotton
deliver to examination
a first edition of the Treatise
moving the quiet hours along
a circling sun slants through
parted window blinds outside
the city murmurs into late afternoon
and despite definitive decrees
imposed by the tilting twin tower
monuments of faith and hate
that make a single shape
against the clear blue skeptic sky
deep beneath the cobbled streets
there's still the tremors
of agnostic rumblings



Success and happiness are written in white ink on white paper.
Human problems and suffering are scrawled in blood and black ink.


If you put your hand in water and pull it out,
it will not leave a hole.
But your hand will be wet,
and that is the source for a thousand years of wonder.


It is a short step from
believing in
what is not there
to not believing in
what is there.

in memoriam

Each narrative, be it art, science, or gossip, provides a fragment for the awakening, enhancement, and extension of the consciousness that embraces it.