If I knew what the living of this life
Obtained, I would obtain it. All that strife,
Anxiety and hurt would contribute
To some exchequer full of meaning’s loot
Which, plundered from the stinking hold
Of death, would help me to pay off, all told,
Those bitter creditors who lay in wait
At each day’s wakening – not to this state
Of ignorance, bankrupt, without defence,
To give up hope without a recompense.
For once I rose, then fell. Again I rose
And staggered to this path. This one I chose,
To leave a trail (which will be overgrown within
Another lifetime) – not that I begin
Anew: my marks and tracks haphazard fell
Throughout this forest floor, which scarcely tell
Of feet that trod this way. For no-one cares.
Each too in isolation, lost, each fares
Towards a light too briefly glimpsed, before
A rush of wind removes what we just saw –
If not imagined. Then, sometimes, we look
To see if we can scry within the brook
From which we drink an image of the stars.
Instead, the canopy of boughs, like bars,
Blots out the sky, an ever-growing lid
Built by our past mistakes – nor can we bid
It stop. It grows and grows. The image of
The light which we remember up above
Gets dimmer as we go. And so our trail
Bequeaths no thing of value, and we fail
To teach to those who follow a true way.