Don't Ask Me

Don't ask me
What is right or wrong,
How you should live,
How to be happy,
Especially how to love.
There is wisdom in knowing one's limitations,
Folly in dressing ignorance up as knowledge.
I have been wise and foolish by turns.

There's a saying:
"Healer! Heal thyself!"
Well, I'm a poor healer,
Myself ailing, and as of yet quite impotent:
Like flecks of ice, born of mist,
Buffeted by storm,
And you're looking for some kind of messiah,
Or maybe the proverbial knight in shining armor.
Well, damn you and your great expectations!
Your messiah's out raping nuns and burning villages,
And it's all I can do
To keep the spiders from overrunning my home!

Brother, don't ask me
What causes are worth suffering, dying for.
Causes are like credit cards, like religions,
Like aluminum siding:
Everyone makes their sales pitch,
Lusts after your time and wallet,
And it all seems like a big scam in the end:
Your money, your time, someone else's jollies.
My advice is:
If it gets you off and doesn't involve dumping on me,
Go for it.

Don't ask me to inspire you.
If you don't ask, I just might have a chance
To do it—my way—
When I'm not even trying.
Or at least give me something to be inspired about first.
The hours are late; the day is old.
For now, the sad, monastic poet takes his leave;
In lands of winter exile, may I find, unbidden, your answer.

George Chadderdon © 1996