Common Joy

Why have a common joy,
creature un-mourned when gone,
trifle of some yesterday in a country
neglected, worn?

Better none if there is truth to tell.
Living to be alive is not thrill.
Better grayness of cloud
slate colored lives and cone less eyes
than mere
Common joys.
None, no life, unless lived large, loud.

This was the argument Faust made
with that smirking shade
Mephistopheles.
“I will live, and I will BE!
If not, do what you will with me.”

He would show that devil from hell
How life was to be lived and well
Who belittled lives not lived in heaven;
Challenge, taunting fiend, unleaving.

Wolves hunt Caribou relentlessly,
Across a thousand frozen miles,
Stand sentinel over them on the hills,
Plunge into each thick haunch with avid purpose
While the herds, like the rivers
they blindly cross
(Which have been crossed for centuries), plod
On to fly swarmed tundra
mere hunger driven hope their guard.

Renewing life above everlasting ice
their brief time un-dominated by night
cold wind cannot blast away
Common joy of life lived another day.

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6 responses to “Common Joy

  1. mr.ban:not one of your bet efforts,but the analogy of satan seeking souls and wolves tracking caribou is a striking one,and to my knowledge original as well as apt and emotionally stirring.jfm

    • What do you want for a total of 15 minutes spent on it over a month? The New Yorker?

      I do appreciate the reply, though. It tells me that (a) your read them, and (b) you react. Thanks.

      Can you tell me what, in your way of thinking, makes it “not one of (my) best efforts”?

  2. For all that, I’ve returned to this. It’s a haunt, possibly because the grammar is elusive and the logic of the imagery shifts, so there’s a sense of ‘grasp; without ‘hold’ : fleeting glimpses through the drifting snow mist. Tell you what though – there’s a line that doesn’t work, probably my accent, but in reading it I kept tripping over Gerald Manley. Your line is “Challenging taunting fiend un-believing.” I was hearing myself say “Challenge, taunting fiend, un-leaving”

    (grin) As always it is ‘Myself I grieve for’.

  3. Rhetorical question: Why is it that men can get by with living to the full, but if women do that, they get labeled certain non-glamorous names?

    I’ve been reading a bit about Robert Frost. He felt at the end of his life that he wasn’t worth much because he gave too much attention to his writing, while his family suffered. I’ve spent my life worrying so much about doing the right thing that I’m in my mid-life attempting to “catch up” with my talents.

    There’s no path through it all, especially for those of us who write. It’s like stumbling through a forest in early summer when the brush is high with no moon at night.

    Is it worth it?

    I have no idea.

    Writers are lone wolves.

    That’s all for today……been catching up on your writings here at the library.

  4. Ritagail, dear one, it has been weeks since I read your words, but only moment since I last thought of them. My life this more than two months has exemplified what you are saying, and though I wanted to reach out and say some hopeful, helpful thing that would get you going, the will lacked the space in which to do it.

    I used to wonder about Rodin, who was so toxic to his women and his family, and to think, what if he was mistaken, and he wasn’t a genius, and all the treasures of the little moments his family missed while toiling after him, were, after all, wasted.

    Few years ago now I discovered Julia Cameron, managed two Chapters and was transformed. I did some good writing in those years. These days I comfort myself with Tolkein’s tale of Tree and Leaf. A parable which mostly works for me, but not, alas, always..

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