Friday the 13th

I didn’t know it would end like this, she said, and died.
The ring I gave her more that 60 years ago
clipped cruelly from her swollen hand.
Her body, from the bed, to the morgue, to the flame
to me, in a box heavy with grief.
I didn’t know it would end like this–
the love we shared, the lives we built . . .
in a box, to the grave, on the 24th
on a day we should have celebrated birth.
Hail and farewell, my love. I’ll see you when I sleep.

24 August 2015

On work I

There is a time when we may reach the understanding that no matter how menial, boring or trivial work seems, there is nothing better for most of us than to fill our lives with regulated activity. Only the living are allowed to work. The dead contribute nothing but the chemicals that make life possible–tending, always tending–never becoming, never being. Is work so bad when the alternative is nothing?

On work II

It is best if your work is that which enables you to truly realize yourself. Yet it is difficult to know which work can bring about this crystallization.

For years I believe the only work worth of the name was creative work of the artistic kind–work best suited for those of superior mind and sensitive understanding. How great my pride: how miniscule my knowledge!

Now I know the work that most expands my mind is simple, repetitive, and often boring. Typing lists of things; accounting for life’s unmemorable dross has become an ennobling activity.

I now appreciate, perhaps may some day truly understand, why the man who used to collect the shit from our backhouses once a week never felt humbled by this activity. He smiled and joked like any ordinary man, bore his load with patience, and never, so far as I knew, paid the slightest attention to the snickers behind his back. Never once did I hear him curse or complain. He was never slovenly, never dirty, never smelled. What he carried smelled, but he did not create that–we did. We used to call his truck the Honey Wagon Without him we would have sunk in our own mire; suffocated in the effluent we paid him to collect. The names of many who labored over me to “teach me something” I cannot remember: Mr. Klanka’s example remains with  me still. He was then, I have become, not ashamed of menial work . . .

On abdication

When the king departs he has only one last wish: that the kingdom should come to the hand of his well-loved son who will care for its wants as he has done, heal its wounds when it bleeds, and see to its continuation . . . But can the king voluntarily abdicate in the face of uncertainty?

If the answer is ‘yes’ it may mean the kingdom has such a son, or that the king, grown wise with years, knows that all life is uncertainty and only by trusting to the winds of change can destructive conflict be bypassed. Continue reading