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Four Poems by Richard Jay Shelton


Four Poems
Richard Jay Shelton

I love when all things cheap,
The paltry, the trivial,
The gratuitous,
Sleep beneath
The moth covered lace
Leaving the life of the mind
Free to roam,
Diving deep
Into depths of self
Beyond the cluttered wealth of working days,
Past echoes of industry and obligation,
Into absence and emptiness
Where idle reflection
Mirrors origin and essence.

What sighs Time does dent upon the mind
As plundering Age approaches,
Shovel in hand,
With which to beat upon man
Who stands forewarned and complacent,
His warring body and mind resigned,
As victor Time
Hun’s life’s borders,
Roman no more.

Man is a mimic
Of the world
We see
And try to be seen
As what we saw
Rather than being
Just what we are.

The old man clings to life gripping his chair
Oblivious to light and all sense.
Being for him is to exist
All sense of self resists the least awareness
Of all his life was or might be
As he grips his chair
And stares at air
Empty, silent, still.
Activity barely stirring
Or disturbing the space that surrounds
The wheelchair sitting on the ground.
What tokens of life
Still mingle in that inactive mind
Once youthful, ambitious and unkind,
A strong will set upon catering feasts,
Banquets in his prime,
That barred all but his own strong appetite
Spreading the table with what he desired,
None invited or entertained
Lest they interfere with his gain,
Vast plunder bereft of love
That he fought so selfishly to acquire
Without a single enjoyment from that desire.
What awareness of pleasure and joy
Within the vast world of possibility
Entertain that parasitic mind
That seems content to sit and stare
Day and night within his chair?
Are all his senses so dulled,
So devoid of stimulants,
So empty of longing
That he craves no desire
Other than to not expire
And warm the earth with his rotted flesh?
Are all his needs so minuscule,
His hopes so slight
That existing is to eat, sit and stare
At what occurs around his chair
Fulfills his requirement for life,
Nothing and more of nothing
The tidy sum of days passing?
How could it possibly have been
That once he was so full of life and fire,
That days and years were consumed with frantic activity
Plowing a clear path for his goals,
Razing to cast aside
All that stood in his way?
How could it happen
That all that fire
Could smolder and expire,
Not even smoke from one desire?
How could he embrace this vapid existence,
Mere vapor in a vacuum sealed tight
A circulating mist his stale gasping breath calibrates
To sustain a measured subsistence?
How could he lose sight,
That old conquering mercenary,
Of all life has to offer
And all that he was,
Of hope and pride
Of the entitled life of the dignified?
Why embrace existence bereft of life
Braced upon that chair locked in place
Fearful of the menacing moment in black mourning
Proclaiming his last day
Carrying him away
To the cold damp earth
He plundered with such glee
When all life existed for only him,
His wants, his needs, his every desire?

Copyright © 2011 by Richard Jay Shelton
All rights reserved

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