A new false dawn has broken
Over the trees, pausing for a while,
Before the sense of disappointment
Ringing in our ears, shatters the hope
We had, like a careless ignorant boy.
Smashing a piece of glass into
Dangerous vicious sharp shards –
There’s nothing worse than that.
There is a moment before
Disillusionment becomes disgust,
That time we saw a ring of innocence,
Girls holding hands in a circle,
In an opening amid the trees,
After the picnic; they imagine
A better world of generous
Co-operation, but they fail.
They failed because important people
Smothered the flame of hope, and turned it
Into smoke and ashes. We cannot
Forget such a betrayal; it hurts us
Till we bleed, more in remembrance,
Not to suffer yet another loss,
Before we gain some knowledge of the truth,
Hidden from us, so long ago.
Then dig up the past; let its rotten carcase
Be examined for evidence of the truth,
Which we cannot determine, so many years
After the event; the tune remains the same,
Repeated over and over again; so harsh, so painful,
An indelible deliberate record,
Of something we would much rather forget,
If only we could – but, we still keep alive.
The floodgates of our sorrow open up,
Without discretion; avoidable damage
Given an opportunity, finds itself,
Being done, dominant, foreboding:
The endless struggle to explain the past,
Being known, without a reason, why
A thing happened, an essential compromise,
So necessary, it seemed at the time.
Own the past – no, disown the past.
It’s still a puzzle, how things turned out;
An old man with rotten teeth, gaps, holes,
Looking back on the young man he used to be,
Must conclude, Time is unkind; it always was,
It always will be. We learn our lessons
By the mistakes we make; not before,
Always after the event, even if we predict
The consequences of our foresight.
There’s always tomorrow, the old saw says;
The possibilities lost, don’t think
About them any more. A little paper boat
Will float and – give it a push – will travel
Some distance, until it soaks and sinks.
Our hopes and what we never did in the past,
Are the same: they should be forgotten, but –
They haunt us still. Nothing remains the same,
Except the past, which never changes.
If the desire or purpose was to change,
We must assimilate possibility,
Prevent accidents by applying
The core of our integrity, not to do
Things we know are wrong for our peace of mind;
Our future is not fixed or futile, unless
We admit defeat, which some said, we deserved:
That only makes it worse, by told-you-so.
I would not have this life by choice – only by
My own incompetent negligence, imposed
On me by others. That is, the end.