Sunday, June 19, 2011


      “In dreams begin responsibilities.”
                         —old Chinese saying

If I’m responsible for what I dream,
Then all the more am I for my belief
In this or that.  Though life is not a play,
Still, what’s at play inside my head will work
To shape the seeming world in which I live,
And my beliefs could use a little help.

Though many say belief in God can help
With everything, some say that’s just a dream,
A comforting illusion kept alive
By wish and hope and fear, a dead belief
Debunked by science long ago, the work
Of superstitious minds—or rather play.

And yet I much admire the mind at play.
I think that what we do in play can help
Us live more happily and even work
To rectify our wretched days, as dream
Can pacify our fretful nights.  Belief
Is but a kind of dream by which we live.

You think we live by fact alone?  We live
By so much more than what we know.  We play
At knowing, being scientists.  Belief
Is the hypothesis we form to help
Imagine what is real.  It is a dream
Conceived in hopes to show how things might work.

By such-like suppositions, which may work
Or not, we stumble on and learn to live
By our approximations, though we dream
Of finding truth.  Meanwhile we mostly play
With our As-Ifs and call them Real.  They help
Us through the night.  We’d die without belief.

And we’d do best to cultivate belief,
To choose beliefs that serve us well, that work
To energize our deeds.  Belief can help
Us struggle against odds, and help us live
Into reality what first was play:
We are responsible for what we dream.

What first we dream evolves into belief
Which, put in hopeful play proves it can work
To let us live and thrive.  Belief does help.