City and Village
A city offers much that a village can't.
And yet, it is our villages that give,
To each of us, a soul and sustenance.
We try, within a city's multitude,
To make our little clans, our villages.
And some succeed in this – and others don't.
Some work to live – and others live to work.
And work may fill a life, or lives consume.
But work will have an end, as all things do,
And those, whose lives were work, are then marooned.
There's air and warmth – and water, food that we
Require to live. But there are other things,
Without which lives are bleak and sad indeed.
For some, it's music, art. Yet others feed
On varied stuff, not just of atoms made.
But each, except the hermit-saint, has need
At times, of other mortals' company.
The villagers depend on others there,
And so do townsfolk, though they this deny.
Their shelter, water, food and more derive
From others' labor, oft invisible
To those who live in cities modernized.
And they forget how they, of two, were born,
How many then had aided them to live
When they were babies – or were still at school
And learning what they'd later use to earn
Their livings or enjoy their present lives.
If we've had one or more who lived with us,
How hard it is for us, when they are gone
And never will return. A dinner then
Is loneliness – relieved, perhaps, by a screen
That flickers as it shows how others live.
So some have cats and dogs that occupy
The spaces that a human might have filled.
And as we age, and strength and work contract,
So do our spheres, until we're left as one.
And so, we wish that we were villagers
Where climes are warm, and air and children pass
Through open doors, with crying, laughter heard
By elders as they sit outside or walk –
Or lie on floors at night, in starlit rooms,
In touch with earth, beneath the sky – and part
Of human lives.
Yet villagers – they envy city folk.
The young depart to find employment in
The cities, fabled for their wealth and sin.
And some return – or send their monthly dues
To those they left behind, remembering...
But others never do, in newfound lives
Engrossed or trapped, in struggles there enmeshed,
Forgetting who they were, and giving birth
To children who might never know the woes
And simple joys that their ancestors knew.