Entropy and Empathy
The alchemists had tried, by various means,
to turn the cheaper metals into gold.
They failed. But doing so, they surely saw
that shining iron turns in time to rust.
We do not see the old grow sleek and lithe;
instead, the glow of youth is dulled by age.
So order turns to chaos by itself,
as there is ever more of entropy.
So all our plans and years of effort fail
to keep our loves and selves and treasures safe.
So reason too is dimmed and virtue fades,
as passion, teamed with vice, prevails.
So sanity and peace are massacred,
as madness wreaks the mayhem that is war.
When all our good intentions and our work
have led us deeper into tragedies,
and we are faced with darkness and despair,
what light remains—what hope, to give us strength?
What comforts us, when conscience tells the soul,
“You sunder things, but cannot make them whole.” ?
How easily is innocence destroyed
and trust betrayed! So all that’s precious then
dissolves. Suspicion, rancor, hatred rise
to take the place of empathy and love.
If we could take the shattered glass and join
its pieces seamlessly or mend the heart
that’s broken, then we could, with truth, proclaim,
“We’re graced in being skilled at such an art.”
But who is there among us to repeal
the laws of Nature and the ways of Man?
In every sainted one, those flaws exist,
that others, not so sainted, proudly flaunt.
We’re told that there are beings that are wise,
that know the future as we know our past.
But we are mortals, so we err and we
are limited in what we can achieve
or even comprehend. So why then lash
ourselves—and add yet more to misery?
We do what we are able. Things may turn
out wrong despite our efforts, yet we should
remember what we did, what others too
have tried to do, be grateful—and forgive.
We might have smiles and presents for a friend,
but who can give these to an enemy—
to one who's wounded us and brought us woe?
Is there such love, in full sincerity?
In peacetime and in war, we rape and burn.
The orphan cries. The widow holds the urn.
When we can see that he who harms us is
within us each, we then can truly see.
And seeing this, we each can then be healed
and find again that peace that dwells within.
We each in time will face dishonor, death,
and each of us will eat of ashes, yet
we still can cleanse our selves of all our sin
and all that others did in heartlessness.
2016 October 29th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York