If I Could End All Sorrows

If I could end all sorrows,
What would be the cost?
Would art survive? Would man?
What greatness would be lost?

I do not care for suffering.
I am not fond of pain,
And in despair there seems
To be more loss than gain.

Yet is reward and pleasure
Enough to move a man
To deeds of worth and wisdom,
To make a hero's stand?

Without a note of discord,
Would any person strive
To grow, to overcome
The boundaries in their lives?

Would brave Prometheus
Have seized Olympian fire,
And fashioned his creations
If bliss' highest spire

Had been his home? Content
With how the world had gone,
Would he have tried the wrath
His foresight surely had known?

Would you, would I, in his stead
Dare seize the forging flame
If swift and unearned bliss
And love lay in our claim?

Or would we lie contented
To bask in sensual joys
And be content to die
Unmarked, our frail voice

A memory only, fading,
Our strength untried, unspent,
As idle as the bow
Unstrung, unshot, unbent,

As silent as the bow
That drew the violin?
What music shall we have
If the player won't begin?

If I were God and able,
Yet still I'd have a care:
If I could end all sorrows,
Would I be one to dare?

George Chadderdon © 2002