The things by which we measure our success:
accumulations from long years of toil,
the pride of equity in an address,
and our precious illusions. How soon spoiled,
in just a moment’s passing, are these goods,
respectability’s crush torn away.
All the great faiths instruct us that we should
in times like these find hope and not dismay,
unloosed from the material that binds
our spirits to mere temporality;
and praise the soul that in such trial finds
a hidden good to salve its sanity.
It’s only stuff, I know; and furthermore,
in recent months I’ve despaired that its weight
has been a millstone lain beneath the floor
that’s kept our fate in chains. But as of late,
I wonder: is it better the veneer
on these rough boards of ours has been removed,
and now, left plain and simple, our path clear,
are we left with a simpler truth to prove?
I am no refugee, except to those
who measure by possessions a man’s worth,
and would put beggar’s hearts in rich men’s clothes
expecting gold from toxic, poisoned earth.
I have all that I need: the rest is dross
that over time accumulates again;
What good is sorrow spent on such a loss,
or worry over endless might-have-beens?
21 SEP 2005