Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Gambler

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._N._Taber

I get angry when people comment along the lines of someone’s having no ambition.

Ambition means different things to different people and cannot be measured in terms of ‘success’ or ‘failure’; far too often these things are measured in terms of fame and/or fortune without taking into account someone’s success as a well-meaning, decent person; in the latter category, you will often find some of the poorest people in the world.

At the same time, we are all but human, fallible and not infrequently vulnerable. Few things goad a person into taking a misguided path in life, albeit - initially, at least - for all the right reason than self-criticism for failing to live up to someone else's expectations, especially if that person is a loved one.  We need to prove ourselves.  Sadly, in the case of the gambler, we not only risk losing ourselves, but also all we hold dear along the way.

This poem is a kenning.

THE GAMBLER

I can be a friend or foe, take me as you will
to a corner of your heart and let me stay
to whisper sweet words of love and desire
in your ear, bring precious respite
from life’s trials, wars and sleepless nights
for worry, fear, dread of what the day
may yet devour. I can light your darkness.
Only, dance with me on the shadow-line...
win or lose

I can be a friend or foe, take me as you will
into a corner of your mind and let me stay
to whisper unkind words of lust and desire
in your ear where no respite
from life’s trials, wars, sleepless nights
for worry, fear, dread of what day may bring,
rain or shine. Come, and let's conspire
with our love of money to prove ourselves
again, and again

Yes, the human whole comprises parts
that may be taken for friend or foe
as it will, all it needs to feed the body,
fire mind and spirit for good or ill;
young or old, discover how all that glisters
is not gold nor dreamers fools who live
and love each day as if their last,
see in me but distortions of better selves
that faithless shadows cast

Call me Ambition, no saint (or criminal),
self-styled gambler with human potential

Copyright R. N. Taber 2007; 2016

[Note: This poem has been revised since it first appeared under the title 'Dirty Dancing' in 1st eds., of Accomplices to Illusion by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2007; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]



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