Saturday, January 15, 2011

The young one meanders on a journey

he can see only in part,
rising and falling in crazy-quilt fashion,
restless to be more,
if only he could know what more really was.
He is a strong, thin reed of sinew,
heart-breaking in his hopeless, aching desire
to heal the ancient scars of an indifferent world.
He burns with diamond-flash intensity,
fierce young man's desire
saturating his being.
He bursts with fiery rhythms
and raises his voice in songs
that lift up his intense, wounded soul
and wring it out like a dish rag.
A gentle, naive love
exultantly calls out
from the core of his being,
one that just wants to see
simple kindness replace the
blood-smeared brutality that leers at him, and one
that will keep the creeping bitterness that is coiling
around him at bay.
He wants to be a hero,
if only to reassure himself
that he is at least as good as the others.
The Old One looks from a safe distance as the young heart-man
teeters on the cliff's edge, so strong, so unsure, so brave, and so mad,
all at once.
The tired, cynical old one has seen the last
of his own boyish dreams
boiled away by the heat of blind reality,
and has begun to see
death's patiently waiting face taking shape. 
In the young hero-in-aspiration he sees
all that was best in himself, long ago,
before he opened his fingers and let it
trickle away.
He delights in the young one's
still-green, smiling exuberance,
even though the smile masks
darkened pathways of despair.
The Old One sees strength growing in counter-point
to his own body melting away, and a belief
in the possibility of change
where his has vanished.
The Old One throws ropes to the fledgling knight, 
because it makes the Old One feel
that he still counts, and because he knows
that when the uncertain, beautiful young one
finally rises to be the equal of the vision he has
for himself,
the sight of it will remind him
that joy is not just for
children, and that life still has its
occasional, battered triumphs.