Ancram Writing

When Life is Short

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Why, when life is short and full with pain
Of Nature's making,
When seas are high and tides are breaking
On our backs and forcing us in vain
To swim against a current anyway too strong,
Why then do we do wrong
To one another?

Is not the dread darkness which we fight
Enough with all its fears uncertain, hurting,
Without shattering the one remaining light,
Closing the curtain,
Barring the door so fast that our last friend
Cannot come through to hold our trembling hand.

Why now when there is trust do we belie it,
When there is hope why crack its fragile frame,
When consolation's offered why defy it?

Are we made thus, as pieces in a game
Of chess
That take, destroy the happiness
Of parts within us which we love of one another.

I offer no excuse but that am human,
Ask not for forgiveness but for understanding.
I cannot heal the wounds which I have caused,
Yet I can see and feel and suffer in them too
And by our conjoined pain
Make you realise
What, on a razor's edge, I feel for you.

1971

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