Progeny & Pages (A Sestina)

One day I will bequeath a sheaf of papers
to my son; my son and my poems the sum
of my contribution to this spinning world.
Tangible reminders I once existed; proof
that my matter once mattered and continues
to live proudly on through progeny and pages.

I look at the poems of my life poured onto pages,
impulse strewing my choices like wind-blown papers.
Even now my lack of certain direction continues,
my decisions steadily mounting up to an untidy sum.
I want to trust myself but I hunger for more proof
that I know where I'm headed in this turning world.

If there proves such a thing as a Book of the World
I yearn for my life to read as well-written pages;
as well-composed, as orderly as a geometry proof
Euclid conceived of and then explained in his papers;
my additions and subtractions balancing in sum,
adding up to a contribution that forever continues.

But the pain of haunting self-doubt continues
as I struggle to define my place in this world.
All this existential angst may seem strange to some -
their lives are lived on completely different pages,
my words to them as alien as those in foreign papers.
I can't defend myself, for I can offer them no proof.

If it's in the pudding, I would love to taste proof
my life has truly mattered. My hunger for it continues
to gnaw at me like time that fades and yellows papers
containing the poems of joy and pain for this whole world:
loves and losses, births and deaths scattered 'cross pages,
the insurmountable beauties, the horrors adding up in sum.

It's a seemingly random universe that seems to favor some;
although of that, I admit, I possess no Euclidean proof
that I could, in proud fashion, serve up on these pages.
No, my quixotic quest for a meaningful life yet continues
as my thoughts spin as drunkenly, as fast, as a world
that is as hopelessly scattered as those wind-blown papers.

These musings are the sum of a calculation that continues
so that I might offer proof one day to an unconvinced world,
to my son, through pages of poems on wind-blown papers. 

2002 Jan Zahler Lebow.  All rights reserved. 



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