Chaos Chance and Choice- From Bouquets to Battle, is a lovely collection of poems by Les Bush Poet which in a way reflects the conflicts and chaos that he had gone through in life and is a poignant reminder , how hope can sustain a person through in the darkest of moments. Here we are bringing before you the second poem of the anthology, a sequel to the first When the Battle is lost. A sequel written thirty years later… What does the poet say thirty years later? Will be interesting to read, right?
Within a few weeks, by the end of June 2011, I wrote a sequel to my previous When the battle is lost. This was inspired by, and to be shared with a support group I had joined. This is the poem.
WHEN THE BATTLE IS LOST
(30 YEARS ON)
“It is the mission of each true knight…
His duty… nay, his privilege!
To dream the impossible dream.”
The process is still in motion! It’s more of a drunken stumble than a walk.
I couldn’t feel, so I learned to talk.
Silence had no content, no form; but Nature abhors a vacuum;
so do I: like its domestic namesake, it sucks.
It is like a Petit mort (a small death). Poised,waiting to fill it
are lurking swarms of doubt, mistrust, casual cruelties, contempt and lies.
It is a naive, desperate, stubborn act of Will to say “No!”,
to cling to hope – however small and battered it may be –
to embrace, without question or pause,
the ragged remnants of all that is loving;
to exclaim that the true measure of life is the living of it!
In full knowledge that Death is patiently waiting,
absolute and incontrovertible.
That is our contradiction, our challenge, our quest,
to embrace the challenge and unpredictability of life,
and acknowledge the certainty of Death;
to defiantly proclaim. “Not Yet!”
In response to the Foe’s mocking, pregnant pause
– rife with phantasms and terrors yet unborn.
The Will would ask, “Why do I proclaim such an imperative on hope:
and the reasonable expectation of the inevitability of the return of hope?”
“THIS is my reply!
To not do so would be to cravenly surrender to – and drown in –
the ocean of despair that calls me siren-like to oblivion!
To recognise and accept the challenges of adversity is not to give in,
give up or abdicate one’s imperative responsibility in life:
to take steps, actions or the setting of goals,
to validate one’s existence, to celebrate success in whatever form it comes;
have reason to to believe that hope is achievable
and hope that the application of reason is a pathway
to experiencing the re-birth of hope.
“Cry Havoc! Unleash the dogs of war!”
Even in the tumult and carnage of battle
we will celebrate our shared humanity!
We will sing our fractured song of praise.
We will shout our lonely “Hallelujah!”
We, the living: unpredictable, inconsistent,
perverse (even) as we may be in our faltering yet stubborn adherence
to an absurd faith in the power of Love and Life;
we have a final line of defence.
we create, we procreate; dream impossible dreams
– and do our best to make them happen.
we share, record and transmit those things we value.
we influence, argue; agree and disagree,
assimilate and accommodate
information and experiences
as we grow individually and collectively and adapt.
In such a collective consciousness is our power.
as one passes the (sometimes, barely flickering)
torch of hope to another.
there will be more battles,
more stunned and shocked silence:
more admonishment of the collective components
of “Who” and “What” we are, to hold firm and resolute.
This time, the Will can face the Foe; challenge it;
hold up a battered bridal bouquet, and say,
“Death, where is thy sting?”.
You might take my body, my vitality: all that I am;
I will be immortal, treasured and sustained in the loving thoughts
and memories of others. I can face my nemesis, and say:
“The world will be better for this,
that one man scorned and covered with scars,
still strove with his last ounce of courage,
to reach the unreachable stars!”
Les Bush (2011)
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