Subtile Body

“There is more reason in your body than in your best wisdom.”
Frederich Nietzsche

Hard to think, perhaps,
this old man lives
in “subtile body”–

looking at my lines,
looking at my heft,
beer belly & broken teeth,

but I am;
I do . . .

Subtle body where
the accidents fall
into place because

I have seen the sacred
pattern of a life
botched, yet

all the universe gathered
to catch me in
my drunken fall.

Hard to see, but it’s
here–subtle body in this
old man, sway backed

& bowed legs
born of a child too
timorous to eat;

not enough; too much;
all I could think of. Yes,
my subtle body is subtle,

difficult to see
through the curtain of
fat and age,

yet it’s there, ashes
of mistakes, life
in a pattern

I see now, subtle
pattern in the ashes.

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About David Breeden

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden is Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He became a minister after a career as a university professor, teaching creative writing and literature. He has written several books on theological topics and translates the writings of philosophers of classical antiquity. More information is available at