Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Last Defeat

The Last Defeat
Since highways serve to smooth the workers’ rides,
Who still takes rougher roadways anymore?
Amidst the rushing and efficient swarm,
What place is there for those who pedal slow?

There comes a time, when we admit defeat
And merely hope to cease from further strain.
But even then, we might be forced to stay,
Where work’s reward is even more of pain.
A life consumed by labor might result,
At journey’s end, in greater sorrow yet –
For those departed, while we labored, grief,
For all our fruitless years of work, regret.

But could there still be consolation, when
Our efforts turn to blowing dust and sand?
When men are robbed of satisfaction, hope,
Could there be things, they then might understand?

In isolation, emptiness, we taste
Of striving’s bitter, acrid ashes – yet,
Although we know our lives have been a waste,
We feel for those, whom others might forget.

And so, when we have nothing left to give,
And weariness, discouragement is deep,
It’s time, perhaps, to wake to light and dark –
And all the grays ignored by those asleep.

In blissful ignorance, we might have thought
Our fellows better than they truly are –
But then we see how truly hard it is
To staunch the tides of craving and of war.

However hurtful that awaking is,
We then might chance to see the subtle grain –
And seeing this, lift up, again, our heads,
Accepting, even grateful for the pain.
Some paint the world in colors hopeful, bright –
And others use the dark and somber hues.
But then, the hills and valleys of our lives
Reveal to us the wider, deeper views.

The hopeful dawn gives birth to light-filled day,
And then there’s dusk that brings the dark of night.
The light and colors change with every hour,
And sadness isn’t absent from delight.

For every joy, in measure, there is pain.
For every sorrow, there is pleasure still.
We take the cup of life, we drink of it,
We set it down and wait for it to fill.

And when at end we taste the final draft,
It might be bitter or it might be sweet.
But we’ll remember those we drank before,
And smile, perhaps, before our last defeat.

2014 September 3rd, Wed.
Brooklyn, New York

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