Would I were... 2009-07-13

I would be an alchemist,
make diamond of sand –
squeeze each handful like a rag
leaving only gems.
Yet I find, grasping so tight,
the grains that fall out
seem each transformed into gold –
success, or failure?

I would create my bodhi,
be brilliant yet calm;
hold zest like a candle flame
to light my long road.
Ahead I see but glimmers,
and conclude it snuffed;
yet others' eyes see a guide –
are blind leading blind?

Inspired by this excerpt from And Rosta's poem-novel:

What the fuck they think that grown-
up life is like, I do not know.
They are having too much fun to let
their holy dreams go shrivel yet
and defeated and unnoticed go
like Captain Oates on out into the glacial
night of blinding white and snow.
So what you in your new unyouthful flab
have learnt is that if life is there to grab
then life is like fine sand
but those gold grains that do not slip
unconscionably from the grip
but lode the intimate creases of the hand
are not the consolation prize; they’re why
you don’t just live, but forge ahead and try
to live and strive to manage not to die.

And you sacristan on whom the fatal accidences of your later life impend,
you know you absolutely must
honour the imperative to tend
the hallowed flame of zest and lust.