It is somewhere approaching forty
That we realise we have a darkness
That will not go away.
Stuck to us, no amount of ritual will purge it:
All our crystals cast shadows,
And every silver lining has a cloud.
When our eyes are thus prised open,
There is a conversion,
And we kneel at the altars
Of resignation, cynicism, or tenderness….
Some days, all three together
Receive our souls.
If we are lucky,
Ideals and guilt, shame and fear
Begin leaving us,
To cling perhaps to younger ones
Replaced instead by the urge to cultivate
Sunflowers and friendships.
We are no longer the conductors
Of our children’s electricity,
And, unshocked, we ceramic Buddha’s
May finally afford them our kindness.
Fighting occurs less and less like a solution,
And peace seems more and more
Like not a bad idea.
Somewhere, approaching forty,
We realise there is no reason for virtue,
And we stoop to move the snail from the road,
Because we notice more often,
What has hands
And what does not.