Thursday, February 16, 2012

When Earth's Last Picture is Painted

In my harried life, I have to admit, I don't take time to stop and read poetry very often. But throughout my life, poetry has always meant much to me. More often than not, poetry comes to me in the words of a song these days as I can find the time to listen to my iPod at the gym or while doing other tasks around the house. Music also fills the time while I'm driving; and since I prefer the oldies to the more modern "music," poetry; or at least the poetry I appreciate, is still a part of what I hear on the radio.

Back in December I posted "Desiderata" here on the blog and used it to point out how the author's words had particular meaning concerning the desires of many married bisexual and married homosexual men.

At the time I posted "Desiderata," another long forgotten poem began to creep from the fog of my mind and I have been trying to remember it ever since. Last week, Bob, who is a much appreciated and frequent commenter on my blog sent me  personal letter regarding the blog I posted entitled, "The Complicated, Contradictory World of Evangelicals." In his letter he quoted "Desiderata" and at first I thought he was quoting the poem I had been trying to remember. I even wrote him back thanking him for sending it to me because I planned to use it in an upcoming blog and had been unable to find it.

Later when I started to write the blog piece, I discovered my mistake. So many years had passed since I had read the poem I was looking for, I could not remember the author or a line. Only a word here and there and Google did not pick up on any of the words. Finally, this morning, the first line of the poem came to mind and Google did its thing and produced the poem for me: "When Earth's Last Picture is Painted," by Rudyard Kipling.

I'm certainly not a literary critic, but this poem is one of the most inspirational poems I have ever read. True, in the ravages of time and age I had forgotten the lines, but words, the rhythm, the meter and especially the message were still well remembered.

For those of you not use to reading or interpreting poetry, the only thing you need to know is the poem is not about painting. For the purposes of those of us who tend to read this blog, think of it as being about the loves of a bisexual man.

When Earth's Last Picture is Painted
by Rudyard Kipling

When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!

How did you do? Can you see any connection between Kipling's poem and married bisexual men? I don't know much about Kipling other than he was a famous 19th Century English poet who was accorded many honors, almost all of which he declined, including the honor of knighthood. I don't have the slightest idea if Kipling was bisexual. The term itself did not exist at the time although the sexual category did. The magic of Kipling's poem is that it is about all things which men desire to do unfettered by the restraints of time, obligation, opportunity, ability, public or private criticism, money or the lack of money, blame or fear.

Over the years, I have become absolutely convinced that my bisexuality, and thus yours, is a gift of God (of if you prefer a gift of destiny). Had anyone told me that 30 years ago, I might have punched him in the face; so if you have the same inclination, I understand. All I can tell you, what I once pleaded for God to take away, I now treasure. And if I can come to that turn in my thinking and in my life, so can you!

I have no idea what heaven will be like. As a sort of agnostic Christian, I still sometimes have doubts that heaven and/or God exist at all. But what I do know is this blog piece has been rumbling around in my mind for a few months and a personal letter to me this morning from a wonderful guy named Skip K finally inspired me to try to gather my thoughts and share them with you.

It is not easy to be a married homosexual man. Not by a long shot; but at least a homosexual man understands, more often than not, that he cannot love a woman as she was meant to be loved. He understands, more often than not, that he is made, in some way he may not understand, to be able only to share real love, real emotion and real devotion with another man.

Things are just a hair more complex for a married bisexual man and often he is tormented by a reality he does not understand in any way whatsoever; and often, because of his religious or moral training he cannot accept - the seeming fact that he loves his wife and loves, or needs to love, another man at the same time!

For most bisexual men, the realization that this could possibly happen is disconcerting enough; but when it actually does happen it often sends the strongest of men into an emotional and psychological tailspin that is almost impossible to recover from without experienced help in the form of some other bisexual man who has dealt with it successfully or from an experienced professional counselor who understands human sexuality from a clinical viewpoint.

"Desiderata" speaks of our desires, Kipling speaks of a time when our desires shall come to total and complete fruition unfettered by anything whatsoever!

As a Christian, even a sort of agnostic Christian, I know that if there is such a place as the Kingdom of God, it is not a far away land in another place and time. If the Kingdom of God exist, we are living presently in that kingdom just as those who are not believers at all are living in the currently existing universe. If that is so and if I am right that my bisexuality and your homosexuality, as well as another man's heterosexuality is a gift of God, then it follows that, in some way we cannot now understand, our sexuality, be it heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality has a part and a place in the eternal Kingdom of God which has always been, is now and shall ever be. Even the agnostic part of me still acknowledges something greater than myself at work in the universe. All we each are, even by scientific laws, is in some form eternal and has a part to play in the scheme of it all. My faith tells me that eternity will be more like Kipling foresaw it that it will be like the cold scientific eternity.

A portion of the last three lines of Kipling's poem sing loudest to me and set my mind to soaring to the highest extent of my faith and my intellect:

And each, ...
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!

My sincerest wish is that you let your bisexuality sing as it was meant to sing.

Jack Scott


  1. Hey Jack, it's interesting that you bring this up. I often wondered if other people are touched by a poem or some piece of writing the way I was. I'm glad I'm not alone, because it's almost embarrassing by today's standards. When's the last time someone offered to share a favorite poem with you?

    I don't recall this poem you've posted by Kipling, but what always DID stick in my head was his poem "IF". It's what inspired me to reinvent myself at 42, leave my wife, my career, and whatever sense of security I was trying to hold on to. It gave me the support to come out of the closet and do what's right for me, no one else. [But that was me and my desire, and what I needed to make happen.] I wouldn't necessarily suggest that anyone do that, that is, reacting from an outside inspiration that sticks with them. I think true inspiration and devotion has to come from your soul, and unless it does, you're just grasping at straws.

    I think it's interesting that my feelings of thankfulness have paralleled yours, as it turns out. When I was married and living with my secrets, it would occur to me that I was given this wonderful, secret "gift". A gift that I couldn't share with just anyone, because they simply wouldn't understand or accept it. As a result, I never confided in ANYONE other than those fellow searchers that I would seek and connect with. It truly WAS like having two lives, one totally exclusive of the other. I'd observe the life of all my other married friends and relatives thinking how "mono-dimensional" their lives were, and how I on the other hand, was capable of far more than that. I played both sides of the fence, AND IT WAS FAR MORE THAN ANY OF THEM WERE CAPABLE OF. Today, years later, I'm still thankful that I had that opportunity. I gave being straight a good honest try, and I know what it's all about. It was what I expected from myself, only for the expectation of other people. The longer I did it, the more I realized how it wasn't for me. It's also why I get so disgusted when I hear straight people talk about gay life as if they are in the know. They are absolutely clueless.

  2. Thanks for a great comment Bob.

    You're right poetry has kind of gone out of style these days. It's a shame too. There is so much to be learned from the lines of poems about life and how to live it well.

    I personally think that part of what is missing in today's world is that we simply rush rush rush through it living from day to day to make ends meet and we never stop to smell the roses or to think about the philosophical aspects of life. We certainly don't take the time to pass much philosophy on to our children.

    Hopefully, the pendulum will swing back at some point.

    Jack Scott

  3. I hope this still finds you doing okay for now. I have watched several people in my life subcome to cancer and have felt a lose without them.

    As to your post, no matter who we are, we need to come to some acceptance of ourselves. This is a very difficult task since we are influenced by many factors as we go through life. I know I have struggled with this challenge for many years and only recently come to accept a different part of myself. The journey is not complete though. I will continue onward on my journey. I agree with Bob that my life and who I am is a gift. A gift I need to cherish. And when and where I am able, I need to share this gift.

    I think I've always known I was different from others, especially from other family members. I didn't totally come to accept or understand it until this past year, though. And I thnk I am still working on that acceptance and understanding of self. I also need to work on accepting others for who they are.

    That pendulum continues to swing, it is in my life anyway. I beginning to enjoy my life more each day since I don't know how much longer I have left. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Poetry and music does help me to to discover who I am as well.

    David Miley

    1. Doing very well David. No pain last few weeks. Thanks for asking.

      I couldn't agree more that self-acceptance is critical. And usually in reality it is a life long pursuit. I'm glad to here you're up for the work of continuing to get to know and accept yourself.

      Yep I always knew I was different. I think all guys like us do. The trick is to figure out just what the difference is and what it means and how to live with it.

      Like you I think the pendulum is swinging our way.

      Hang in there. Thanks for the comment.

      Jack Scott


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott