The present moment—that is all we have.
And yet we have it not—it comes and goes,
As water, streaming, rises, ebbs and flows.
Can men possess the wind, contain the tide
Or claim, where those, whose lives have ended, hide?
From vastness, we are gathered for a while,
And back into the vast we each will go.
Oh friend of mine, that I have come to know,
How brief our tryst, before the winds disperse
Both you and I and this—our wisp of verse!
If there's a reason for existence, then
It can't be figured by our mortal wits.
We each are formed—and scattered back to bits
That merge with water, earth and endless sky,
Not ever knowing whence or whither, why.
I saw, upon the trackless ocean, this—
A leaf of autumn, bobbing on the seas
That troughed and crested, driven by the breeze.
Who knew, from where that withered leaf had blown—
Or where, its siblings that it once had known?
We build our villages and towns and roads
And so find comfort in our time on Earth.
But what's the road that sent us to our birth
And where's the village that awaits us when
We each are sent upon our way again?
Annihilation marks the end of life.
The spirit leaves the body, so it seems.
No magic words and no fantastic schemes
Can bring it back, for even just a while
To shed that tear or look and gently smile.
If only we could speak with those we loved
And hold them in our arms and cry and smile—
If only we were given just a while
To make amends, in speech and attitude,
And then let go, in peace and gratitude...
What vanity—those ends that we pursue
Beyond what's needed so we each survive.
And yet, what seeming comfort we derive
In hoping that our work was not in vain,
Although we lived and worked and died in pain.
So come, my friend, and walk with me a while.
Before we part, we each should laugh and cry
At this absurdity, so when we die
We might remember, as our souls disperse,
Our time together and our rhyming verse.
2016 December 4th, Mon. 1:11 am Northwest Berkeley, California