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Poetry Magnum Opus

This Acting Life


dedalus
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Son, brother, husband, father;

nephew, cousin, uncle, friend.

These are the roles ascribed

to me, and to many others,

and to which we attach or seek meaning

during the meandering course of our existence.

One moment one, one moment another,

as in a circling kaleidoscope

that creates malleable if not real identity.

 

Families are peculiar assemblages:

they consist of great love and loyalty,

of years-long feuds and disagreeements,

of sacrifices and resentments,

of anger, hate, and even murder.

A stroll through the Old Testament

or the dynastic stories of kings

lay the naked wounds before us,

as if, by chance, we did not know.

 

Simultaneously, then, we slip

from one role to another,

with our consolation and advice,

our drunken accusations.

We look forward to or dread

all formal family gatherings

(Christmas is by far the worst)

and seek to protect disobliged spouses,

misunderstood half-criminal teenagers.

 

It is a true wonder to think

that all families have origins far in the past,

no matter present residence or nationality,

no matter class, occupation or prospects,

and that every living breathing being,

occupying a space, however dismal,

must, by definition, trace his or her origin

to then living but now dead antecedents

stretching back to the Stone Age.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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"We look forward to or dread/ all formal family gatherings"

Brings to mind descriptive 'spin' that people in families peddle from distance about each other for their own reasons. Of trying to converse decently with those (particularly the young) programmed to bias. Also... I recall Prince Charles saying that he was the result of a thousand years of breeding. Though perhaps it would be more pragmatic to state, that he was the result of a thousand years of hereditary wealth; without which he would almost certainly be lost among the rest of us. We all go back just as far. :smile:

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I can't explain why these lines penetrated for me, but it's true:

 

"One moment one, one moment another,

as in a circling kaleidoscope

that creates malleable if not real identity."

 

Sometimes, poems--or paintings or music--just impact emotionally without reason. I love the unexplainable. The poem might even describe St. Brendan.

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