Sestina for Richard

Late September they brought a tree
To symbolize the birth of hope
And gathered under darkened clouds
To plant it gently in the ground
Beside a junkie’s tired needle
Saying his work would never be in vain.

Perhaps in a more symbolic vein
They should have fertilized that tree
With something from the user’s needle
So that it would have some hope
Of thriving in that barren ground
No sunlight coming through the clouds.

Sometimes enthusiasm clouds
Our judgment, makes us rashly vain
Where there is really little ground
To fix our aspirations on a simple tree.
For such a youthful hope
Is like trying to thread a needle

In the dark, where we need all
Our faith to see even our hands. What clouds
Yet more the dimmest outlines of our hope
Is when every muscle, every sinew, every vein,
Combine, striving with hard-won chemistry,
Yet are not strong enough to hold us up on shifting ground.

This was his lot as each year ground
On and unfulfilled desires would first needle
Then betray in toxic symmetry.
The winds of discontent whipped close clouds
And bent him like a once-proud weather vane
Now facing south in blasts of unmet hope.

It is perhaps best not to be the hope
Of every person breaking ground
Where better folk than we have pierced their vein
Despairing and then thrown down the needle.
For raw enthusiasm rarely beats what clouds
The harsher truths of life with lasting artistry.

He saw at last that it was vain to wear the robe of hope
For people who would plant a tree then let it languish in such troubled ground.
He left, his needle stuck on empty, dust rising from his feet in clouds.


About Andrew Kreider

I'm a poet and musician,transplanted from London, England to beautiful northern Indiana. By day I am a stay-at-home dad with our three kids while my amazingly talented spouse conquers medical school one long shift at a time. At night, I'm a performer and trouble-maker. I love my life.

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