Midwinter thaw. Earth
smells rise from the compacted
ground of Rhode Island.

From contingencies
of chaos and civil war
heroic Roger

Williams carved a
distinction in consciousness
between soul and state.

That was cultural
work, as they say now who gag
on the word soul and

blow the distinction.
Nothing exceeds our self-love.
Chaos, come again.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

One thought on “Chaos”

  1. This poem opens the tension of politics and religion with a finesse and insight that helps the reader see both afresh. So it is timely as America trundles on through crises of its own making. And perhaps it is timely too as Christmas approaches and the frenzy of consumerism and disposable choice leaves us wondering what else there is. As an ex-Pat far from Rhode Island (and the Pats), for me the poem helps answer that in an invitation to mindful awareness of others. Thanks!


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