One's Mythic Base: Mine and St. Augustine's

Ron Price

Mr RonPrice
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George Town Tasmania Australia
sub specie pioneeringi

Price knew he did not need to construct a new mythic base to replace the symbolic base of Western culture that had existed in Christianity. His religion provided that new mythic base, that new metaphysical frame for his vision, that new metaphorical basis of spiritual reality. His poetry helped provide him with a channel to express his awakened intellectual faculties, his enlarged aesthetic appreciation, his interpretive, his mythic, schemata and his unseen intimations of immortality. His poetry tried to embrace a language appropriate to these intimations; it tried to be an extended meditation on reality, the reality of history and the reality of his own story. In all of this Price’s understanding of the metaphorical nature of physical reality contributed greatly to both his mythic base and his individual vision. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, June 5, 1996.

Have my days of dramatic adventure finished?

All those towns and people and that excitement

sub specie pioneeringi? Age, these late years

of middle adulthood, has left me flat but still

playing the game sub specie aeternitatis-for

it is partly a game, a battle, a war and much else.

I felt tears come to my eyes last night

when she read about the poet ‘Aqa Muhammad-Ibrahim,

but no similar tears came when I reflected

on the burden of my sins. I once thought

I could pray and, by God, I did, as long,

as intense as any man, but it seems like

a new road now, one carved in bone

with a delirium of fever

in a place that I call home,

although my words often chill or burn me,

usually when alone. As I try to tell of this story,

its configuration, the way meaning plays,

my vulnerability: I wonder.

Ron Price

5 June 1996

In order to understand people better some human beings take a great interest in themselves. In order to portray others convincingly, some writers constantly examine themselves. It is this penetrating intrapersonal interest that is the source of many great novels, essays and autobiographical pieces. A good example is the Confessions of St. Augustine, written in 426 AD, just after the generation that saw the most significant rise of Christianity after four centuries of slow growth.-Andre Deutsche, Thomas Mann: Diaries 1918-1939, London, 1983,

That rapid and gentle fall of paganism

back then when you wrote those Confessions1,

amidst smiles of contempt for the last struggles

of superstition and despair, you witnessed

as you told of your yearning, your wandering,

your groaning, your inner life,

the note of urgency, of poignancy,

of tension, of unexpected emotions,

of intense personal involvement

with ideas, with an inner continuum,

of light and shadow,

of one long battle with the self,

with an inner depth of infinite complexity,

an inner self-portrait

and its myriad involvements

where light crept back

over rain-soaked landscapes

and darkness often spread

over the limitless room of your heart.

Ron Price

30 September 1996

1 St. Augustine wrote his book Confessions in 397, in the midst of the great conversion process to Christianity during the late Roman Empire. One of the first writers in history to make an attempt to discuss his inner life.