Conversation with a Mirror

I said, “Before I write another word
and send it, helpless, out into the void,
I’d like to find a topic less absurd
than how the world leaves me only annoyed

when I encounter it each passing day;
it does not woo me as in years now past,
but hawks its wares draped in pale shades of gray
that only serve to say they will not last.”

To which my mirror self made this reply:
“‘Tis not the world that has ceased to inspire,
and let its palette’s spectrum fade and dry.
Who would lay blame to life is a poor liar,

that with a wish to leave their guilt unsung
would find the taste of even sugar sour;
and name the fault not in their wretched tongue,
but cast aspersions on some unnamed power

that in a cruel and senseless show of strength
could hold one tiny soul in such regard
to bother with its quality or length
and make that path alone bitter or hard.”

“Alas,” I then replied, “perhaps you’re right:
that life has lost its savour is my shame;
what effort I could make to end this plight,
I’ve left undone. Excuses? Mine are lame,

and make me out a victim, weak and tired;
they reek of indolence and wasted years,
when I, who was so proud to be inspired,
succumbed instead to ordinary fears.”

‘Twas then that my reflection gave a laugh
and whispered, “To admit that, is a start.
Now, write yourself a different epitaph;
and this time, don’t pretend to be so smart.”

22 MAY 2007

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