Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blowing Dust

Blowing Dust (Draft)

It’s difficult, and yet it’s best, to learn
That all we have and everything we’ve built,
We each will lose—that all will be as dust—
The dust that blows, to which we will return.

And yet, when we and those we know are gone,
The birds will chirp to greet again the dawn.
And crickets will be loud at eventide,
As one by one the stars begin to show.
A long procession winds its way through time.
How many went before upon our paths?
How many still to come?  We walk alone
Amidst the crowds, and yet in company.

So as I wipe away the dust that clings
To books I’m packing, those I’ve read and those
I hope to read before I lose my sight,
I wonder at the dust—and wonder more.

Whose dust is this?  How many beings past
Are touched by me, who cannot feel my touch?
Could books attract the dust of scholars who
Had loved their books as I do mine—and more?

A foolish thought—and yet I wonder where
My sister’s ashes, that the river took,
Are wandering—and if perhaps, by chance,
A particle might settle on her book.

My parents’ ashes have been waiting long.
And still I hope that if I can retire,
I’ll free them, like I did my sister’s, while
I leave a sprinkling on the book they wrote.


My sister and my parents could not see,
In print, the books on which they’d spent their years.
And I but rarely leaf through them, because
I fear I’ll stain the pages with my tears.
A book, when extant, might extend a life
Beyond the death of body and of mind.
As books are read, the authors come alive
And speak to those that death has left behind.

And it’s the same with photographs and more—
And all the work we did that’s left a mark—
Perhaps within a mind or heart—before
Our turn to turn again to blowing dust.

How few are those, who have their books or art
Or other free creations published, known
Beyond a tiny circle?  Each yet leaves
Their little ripples that subside with time.

And that’s enough.  And even if we die
And none remembers that we were, it is
Sufficient that we lived our little while—
No more, no less than ants or leaves—and died.
Our mornings and our evenings come in turn.
We’re born to be interred or else to burn.
And in-between, we do what beings do,
To leave behind, perhaps, a trace or two.
A mortal should accept the mortal fate—
Which is to vanish, be deleted, go.
For all we were and all we did will be
As this—the dust on which I gently blow.

2015 August 11th, Tue, 8:15 pm
(fourth-from-last and third-from-last stanzas
 added August 12th, Wed. morning, third 
stanza added August 14th, Fri. morning)
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

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