II

THE WITHERED MAN

 

These days I recall the calling again,

from deep in my mind the memories of when

there were friends in my sight and in my heart;

and my obsession of self tore my friendships apart.

 

They said and they said and they said it galore;

until in saying I was insane, they said it no more.

‘Be careful what you wish,’ they said it anew.

But I was in rapture with what I could do.

 

A folly of mockery, ‘pon seeing the stall;

an old man selling dreams and wishes for all.

Crossing palms with metal of precious position,

I voiced the concerns of my deepest volition.

 

‘Eternally abide here,’ the withered man said,

‘lest fear of your leaving doth wither your head.’

‘But warn you I must of the ruin of time;

so preparing you rightly you withdraw your mind.’

 

But I, laughing scornfully, pushed him aside,

forever seeking the secrets that hide.

 

For long did I long and longer again,

for knowing just how, what, where, why and when

the Sun rose, the Earth turned, the Universe grew;

while I all awhile dreaming, convinced that I knew.

 

And dismissing eternity and caretaker there,

I refused to commit my soul to its care.

 

So no god did prepare me for the passing of time,

where passing eternally, it would e’er curse my mind.

And I languished aloof as the seasons breezed by,

taking time in their stride as their trade they did ply.

 

Complacency held me in its irrational claws;

the value of life was eroding.

But the magnitude was seen of my impassioned flaws

as the world expanded and I, imploding,

saw all whom I loved ravaged by the laws

of time and life and death and fate.

 

And swift did I learn the power of hate.

 

I hated the world, I hated its rules.

I hated the people; I hated those fools

who spoke of a better place far beyond time.

Could they not see it was no longer mine?

 

Or was it me? Had it never been mine?

 

A punishment for dismissing, a lesson to be learned?

But I, laughing scornfully, was not concerned,

for there were wonders to be witnessed and marvels aplenty.

Why would it matter if my soul was left empty?

 

And did I have a soul anyway?

Who was to know? Who was to say?

For they, dead, would never come back

to guide in my life, put me on the right track.

 

And I missed them so.

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