“If I Am Alive”
If I am alive but barely, still I live
Beyond the doubts and casual appearance
Of hosts of others in the cast, their clearance
Measured, their endurance no further than they give
To pass the time away, or worse, nothing more than missives
On a wire, more deadly, even lethal straight through the air; deliverance
From them becomes their desperation if but a single brick in evidence
Has not been claimed, their fingerprints ubiquitous on every page, a sieve
To flatter, conjure, mediate, to violate the very marrow of the peace.
May I care or caudle, must I savour penury in the fault
Of the age or pay homage to what is of yesterday but is today
No more than fumes and vapour from a passion thrice delayed
And more? It is no matter in the West, but the die is cast just east
Of what was once an Eden seeded in antiquities, its soils turned to salt. What sweeter taste distilled than from what’s begun;
What royal satisfaction compares to what’s been finished?
The lines are weakly drawn between the millimetre, the inch,
And all that follows once done must then expire; the run
Of ruts and dull inertia vie with one another while the sun
Drowns both alternatives and their inverse as does the sea the fish,
Or school, skies, the single bird or flock. See it as you wish.
But oh, had I but known! Arachne’s pride, her hubris spun
Alike from fingers and divinities in some sweet loom
That should amaze the multitudes of men and sublimity but broke
The natural faculties of all the gods in their aversion. Themselves
In terror, but more so in the wisdom of the goddess from the shelves
Of ancient vain imaginings, from the book a page from destiny revealed too soon.
In the end comes justice from Athena; through the smoke
Of perfect passion’s edifice brought low by imperfection,
Her action brewed with desire in a panoply of attributes never ratified,
Never satisfied. What star knows neither birth nor death but matter pacified
In both with rest and final consummation in eternity? Circumspection
Not choice is the crown of those who wait and if they wait upon selection
Torn from choice and born if only then to die, they must abide
By what they learn: the end is in the beginning, a number multiplied
If only in division, hurled back again from death to resurrection.
In all creation and unique in the stations of simplicity.
Both gods and men deny they are but doomed
As both are so devised that from the void they came
And to the void in certain splendour they remain
And cannot rise above the regions of duplicity.
As is the womb, so is all creation in the end consumed.
...something inspired to some degree by the daily news of wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, savage attitudes by governments, religious and secular, who would attack and destroy their own people; economic ruin in the face of conscious knowledge of what can no longer be sustained by a world population of close to 7,000,000,000, most of which is starving, all of which are grieving what was and is no more coupled by what must now come and can no longer be avoided….
But I have that within which passeth show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
Hamlet, Act I, Scene 2
William Shakespeare [1564-1616]