How the grist can love the mill which grinds it!
And when the mill is finished with
 its grinding, dust to dust,
what is there to love? What is my soul
 that of its wonders I make
powder for the mouths of babes?
 Is that the argument? To be full
at yearning’s end and never
 to begin again, through lifetimes
lost to wander: not a memory wrought,
 nor one fragment glimpsed; no
revelation of the power of those loves lost and won,
 nor the skills built of my labor,
nor the wry laughter of the once-child’s ‘let’s pretend?’

 Is this philosophy’s revenge?
To take us down again and again,
 to arrange the suffering, knowing, and striving
into an absent grief? Who would take
 such pain from me
and erase my very life beneath the churning wheel of time?

 How much striving beneath the wheel
to make up-rising into gold? How much chaff
 from straw to sew the bread on which
our timelessness is built?
 Is it sweet oblivion that infills each enriched loaf of day?
Then lives that were and will be, to me, erase
 the self, its lessons and its pride: gone
is memory, gone is fear of death. Gone
 the night’s glad music in the ebb of birth.
Nothing wrought into new bones, the ferment
 of firmament to catch off-guard souls.
This is the rage and this is the calling,
 but is it real? Is it the dawning
of unfettered awareness, or its dissolution
 which we inadvertently applaud?



Charles Goldman

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