The People’s Poet

(in lament of past folly)

 

beneath a dark and august moon
with eyes of a stark and raving loon
I looked beyond the blackness of my rage

and saw there in the shadows
a distant laughing vagabond
who uttered vague cabaret songs
and danced the street lamp lighted stage

“reality bends like a horseshoe round my mind!”
he screamed “becoming lost behind me –
tomorrow is not reality for it has not become
today becomes reality only after it’s done”

he spoke his words no thought aforethought
he looked into my burning soul and grinned
a winsome gaze that challenged
all my well-worn guise

“you look to me a man of fortune”
grinned the wicked vagabond
“but fortune of what sort has bargained
you to end up where you stand?”

that his speech
seemed well-intentioned
mattered to me not
but the tortured man had reached
into my heart of tangled knots
and found a shriveled wound

“to each his own!” he gleeful moaned
“to each his own!” he mocked me
“what life you’ve lived so free at last
to strap you to this mizzen mast
with joy as you did revel
and cast your lot asunder
to hear the woe-begotten knell
of a not so distant thunder?

“your brow against the roaring swell
of seasick brine and salty spell
to face life’s bitter vengeance?

“for what you reaped is what you’ve sown
and not a lick of it so funny
that as in haste you do repent
and see your fortunes now negate
into the holes of blunder:
don’t worry of the furnace
that you peer into with wonder
for as ‘to each his own’ has been your cry
to ‘each his own’ has done you!”

“to each his own,” I whispered low
“to each his own,” I wondered:
what life I’ve led I chose my own
to be what I would be
to do what I would do
with no one there to taunt me
nor words to whisper in my ears
like a conscience that should haunt me

I tripped the light fantastic
and rode life to its crest
and what I’ve brought to bear with me
I did at my behest
and now I’m just a shell
of what I once did best

“to each his own,” I wept and moaned
“to each his own,” I sorrowed
to each his own, you’ve left me here
with nothing for tomorrow
and though my life has always been
a thing that I have borrowed
to each his own, I beg to turn
this tide that I have swallowed

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