Thursday, 29 May 2014

Landfall, Human Spirit

We have no choice regarding our being brought into the world; all the more reason, in my opinion, why we should be allowed choices regarding how we live and even leave it. I, for one, would not want to stay if my quality of life (as I see it) was such that I felt unable to give to or take from it as I would like.

We should never underestimate or shrink the capacity of children and young people to think for themselves, the more so as they grow into a subtle if inarticulate awareness of the world into which they have, unasked, been brought.

Now, I have always maintained that quality of life is more important than life itself while how an individual assesses his or her quality of life will vary considerably since we are not (yet) a race of clones. As for so-called ‘success’ and ‘failure’, they are very over-rated and far less important than aspiring to goals where the very process of aspiration helps make us (hopefully) better and kinder human beings.

Everyone sees life differently and wants different things from it. We should respect that at every level of society; home, school, workplace etc. Children and young people are not vessels for the aspirations of parents or teachers; they have minds of their own and should be encouraged to develop the moral stamina to make their own way in life.


Faces, competing
to offer a helping hand
where I cower
in my corner from wind
and acid rain eroding
a world ever whimpering
in pain

Hands, reaching out
to drag me into the world,
urge me stand tall
among rats running rings
around human beings
looking on and/or placing

Hopes, aspirations
and pipe dreams staking
a claim on me, tossing
fistfuls of straws where left
to surf a perfect storm
on my own, make for a safe

Eyes, closing, as sure
as the world’s blood, sweat,
and tears customizing
its tee-shirts with this or that
social, cultural, political,
or religious divide, no place
to hide

Ocean of voices,
a crashing hypocrisy urging
I strike a balance,
take its swell in my stride,
do tin gods proud,
last spotted strutting cloud

Landfall, crowded
by noises (potential choices)
and new senses
wrapping me in silver foil
to keep me warm
and safe from harm, peace
in its time

Sleep, a welcome friend,
world without end…

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2014 

[Note: An earlier version of this poem first appeared in an anthology All Our Tomorrows, Triumph House (Forward Press), 1999 and subsequently in Poetry Monthly (43) the same year before I included it in Love And Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2000.]

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