Youth, in our budding lives,
instinctively learning, studying books,
future plans make sense.
A robust social hunger, a pliant mind,
and urgent body sets the table
to feed you, enrich your psyche,
to broaden your intellect,
and prepare you.
But moving forth,
your invincible self erodes,
bit by bit from disappointment.
Aspirations fade like fog in sunlight
chipping away adolescent bravado
like a rude chisel.
We learn uninvited lessons, recoil at events,
battles are lost or won,
but are always paid for,
hopefully gaining grace,
and a degree of kindness.
Injustice and disappointment
absorb the former hunger for those keen plans
intruding reality mitigates,
that tattered bravado recedes, but not entirely.
People you know, young and old, die,
small catastrophes claim you,
you humbly learn those stinging chapters
where not only is life not fair,
it’s teeming with deceit, agony
and not a little ironic humor.
So cloak yourself in a fabric woven
with existence riddles,
let fly a little laughter,
brandish cautious celebration.
Joy remains, but is tempered now,
in gradual surrender
to those changes you cannot actuate.
Set your brave boat
to coordinates of resilience
push the rudder toward
coves of compassion,
taking onboard friends, dogs,
supplies that please and comfort you.
You control not the winds, nor the tides,
only your own humbled boat.
Yet the sun is out there too, the fish and birds,
your prayers, and beacon stars to guide you.
C – 2012 HB Morrell