Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Orphan

©Linda Goodman, 1982

He gazed into my face and saw a tear well in my eye.
“Life is to be lived,” he said, “so tell my why you cry.
The earth still turns, the grass still grows, the years go sailing by.
Live life while you’re still young, my friend, for soon enough, we die.”

“Can you not see, O Learned Sage?” I cried indignantly.
“There is hunger on the mountain and pollution in the sea.
How can I laugh and dance and sing? How can I live with glee,
When all about me everywhere life reeks with misery?"

“O, foolish child, do you not see these tears you cry in vain         
Cannot feed the hungry, soothe the poor, or ease the rich one’s pain?
These things are with us always; ever since the dawn of man.
Accept those ills you cannot change, and change what ills you can.”

I watched him walk away from me. His hobbled gate was slow.
He touched an orphan on the cheek. I saw the child’s face glow.
The child then laughed and danced and sang; I bade him tell me why.
“I am alive he said to me. Oh, what a joy have I!”

I could not understand the depth of this philosophy,
So I took the youngster by the hand and brought him home with me.
And now he shares my lonely life and joyfully I find
My demons chained in dungeons and myself with peace of mind.

The woe begotten of mankind have been, will always be.
I’ve made my mark. I’ve done my part.

My heart, at last, is free.