After Marianne

A Poem

(In which the British author attempts to shake off decades of social conditioning and embody the words of Marianne Williamson)


Our deepest fear, said Marianne,
Is not that we are inadequate,
But that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, she said,
Not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.

Sounds pretty good, I thought.
When do we start?

Not so fast, said Life, we’ve got work to do.

What is to give light must endure burning,
Or so said Frankl, and he knew a thing or two about that.

So, into the furnace of Life I went.
Ambition blistered, vanity burned.
Things got pretty ugly for a while if I’m honest.

And then, in the middle of the searing fire of suffering I thought,
Hang on a minute,
This is all just one big cosmic gag, isn’t it?
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke –  
Or so said Monty Python
And they were Monty Python
So, you know, they knew a thing or two about comedy.

God is a comedian
Playing to an audience
That is too afraid to laugh.
Or so said Voltaire
And quoting old dead white guys
Makes everything sound more official.

So, God, hear me now.
I am laughing.
I get the joke.
I thought life was a Shakespearean tragedy
But turns out it’s an Owen Wilson film.

Goodbye darkness,
Let me glitter, let me sparkle.
Make me a vessel for your light and
Send it streaming through the 99% of empty space
Of every cell that can barely even be said to exist.
Let me burst into a thousand tiny fractals of kaleidoscopic joy,
And send it beaming out around the world,
A beacon of your love.

It took me a while to realize it,
But I trust that you’ll forgive me.
You’re God, after all – you know a thing or two about that.

Call me a late bloomer, I don’t care,
I am ready.

I am ready to be talented,
Gorgeous and brilliant.
I was born to be a star,
Let me shine.