28 December 2017
A Candle's Life
And we careen up through grey clouds, ‘tween wings’ miraculous lifting.
Our goal is to renew our vows to family ad finitum;
Though compelled we feel not to appear without some packaged item.
So once again to simplify, while trying to keep it real,
I chose a single gift, I hope, with wide enough appeal,
Which inspires an oration metaphorically rich,
With an ostinato rhythm that has little need for pitch.
Our genetic predisposition to crowd our living spaces
With shoes we’ll one day wear again should we find matching laces
Or hardware once essential to some modern apparatus,
Which since reaching obsolescence has ceased to offer status,
Means that the most thoughtful gifts would constitute the kind
“Like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a rack behind.”
But once I started searching, many options sought my vote.
Some were soy, some paraffin, some came with a remote.
I determined to seek lavender for the calming it provides
(Distressed as we all are by he who in White House resides).
Soon I mused about our lives each burning through a wick;
How some remain aglow so long while others go out quick.
How we strive to illuminate or become illuminated;
Be lamps unto a world already overpopulated.
The next taper to be seated in one crystal chandelier,
Among the many thousands on this fragile spinning sphere,
Will require that the waxen stub that was my incarnation
Be scraped out and disposed of without undo hesitation.
Or perhaps the one who wields the blade might pause with introspection
And contemplate the random shards with broadening perception;
Remembering new candles may from melted wax be formed,
While those disregarding past mistakes, who plunge ahead unwarned,
One day find themselves alone with all their precious acquisitions,
Realizing one by one how they have squandered past convictions,
The needy seen along the way, they thought themselves above,
As they grew up being told to be selective whom they love,
Cry out to a star-filled dome behind electric fences:
Just how could I have missed so much while sparing no expenses?
Then am I just another sheltered soul who now confesses
To snuffing out the unseen flame with gusts of my excesses?
And will it now be possible to render reparations
For harming done behind the scrim for sixteen generations?
Only now do I look in the eye of those who’ve harshly labored,
Their basic wants often denied while those of mine were favored,
Their children’s programs squashed, their prime years spent incarcerated;
So long as we’re in separate worlds we’re both unliberated.
So I ask of you, the wax holder, surveying such blood-letting,
Is to respect what has taken all my life to stop forgetting,
To cast the light enabling injured beings to be healed
And raise our children’s children on a level playing field.
—Jeffry, Christmas 2017