So Small

For all our wit and all our wisdom,
For all our dreams and lofty visions,
For all the craft that each of us possesses,
We are still only poor fools after all,
Strangers to ourselves, strangers to our fellows,
Strangers to our home and all that lies beyond.
We race on the endless treadmill of the dreams, insights, and musings
Echoing from the dark corridors of our too-soon-forgotten past,
Where the eminent spoke to their fellows in centuries now dead;
Poets and heroes long fallen but no less wise than you or I
Once asked the same questions—
And reached the same conclusions.
And though we build better engines to carry ourselves forth,
Can it really be said that we are any wiser,
Any better prepared to answer life's fundamental question?
We are born forgetful of our forefathers and their trials;
Each must make their own journey, discover their own answers.
Can we really learn from others' follies,
We usurped of our own unyielding wills and whims?
We enslaved by our own avarice, our lust,
Absorbed in our unending quest for gratification?
How can we truly see from eyes never bestowed upon us?
We pretend to understand our fellows and the workings of the world,
But it is only relative to ourselves that our eyes view the world.
Such fragile threads tie each man to his race:
Dusty tomes in an ancient library,
Images of our tiny worlds and concerns,
Words spoken by friends and family,
Artists and newsmen selling their wares on a phosphor screen.
What wonder is the race of man,
What sorcery it is that makes mankind wise!
What other race can work our miracles?
But what one man is great enough to weave this magic,
What man alone, can part the tides
And lead his fellows to wisdom's shore?
Without our fellow sages,
And without the many hardy laborers to enact their will,
The ruse is shattered, and each of us—

George Chadderdon © 1993