Sunday, 21 May 2017

Joie de Vivre, Enjoying Life ( In any Language)


I started school in 1950 and never did well academically. Yet, as if not more importantly, I learned a lot from a hard hit generation of post-war teachers. Upon his retirement, I asked one (as children do) if being old was scary ‘what with death and all that’. He shrugged and gave it little thought before replying, ‘You reap what you sow in life, Taber. Sow well, and enjoy doing it, whatever and wherever it may be. Enjoy might not always be the first word that comes to mind, but satisfaction is much the same thing. Whatever, the chances are you’ll find Death isn’t such a grim reaper after all.’

That was more than half a century ago. Out of the blue, I found myself  thinking about him and those words of wisdom; both inspired this poem, written to help lift myself out of an inexcusably negative awareness of growing old and the cancer nagging at my prostate.

JOIE DE VIVRE, ENJOYING LIFE (IN ANY LANGUAGE)

Sometimes, hearts lie heavy
on a spirit (still) young and fancy free,
in a world, oh, far less kind
than in its past it ever looked to be
in selective archives

No mornings up with the lark,
flying high in skies all shades of blue,
negotiating storm clouds
like a seasoned performer in the art
of positive thinking

Some may suppose little left
but sweet dreams to alleviate the taste
of time passing ever faster...
heart, mind, and body left to babysit
a restless spirit

Ah, but nature has other ideas,
nurturing life forces to the very end
of any span only visible
to the applauding eye, ever mindful
of its seasons

Earth Mother’s watch, keeper
 of all living things, human or other,
never discriminating
along lines of good, bad, and ugly, no
judgement passed

If a sad mind likely to lead us on
into a world of tears for losing its shine,
it’s a sadder spirit still
sees us taken in by the sweet-smelling
poetry of self-pity

Where a body less able to follow
first instincts, to do, go, leave footprints
deserving of praise,
heed a native spirit on making the most
of each new day

So I grow old, so what? C’est la vie;
the mind- heart- body self can but dream
of rewriting its history…
while its spirit makes of us what we will,
no endgame

Though death would shut us out
of the world (however we may  perceive it),
find rest and peace in any
who continue to take from us their cue
for joie de vivre

Copyright R. N. Taber (2017)

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