On Failing to Advise Failures


“Pull yourself together,” they say.
But which self – the self is lost.
If we had a self we would have no need
To pull it together.

“Snap out of it,” they say.
Out of what? There is nothing there.
If there were something we would not be lost,
Inside the nothing.

“Relax and be,” they say.
But,how? even ‘to be’ needs action.
Why action? when to un-be is all
We can almost tolerate.

“Take it easy, have a rest,” they say.
But ease is difficult, and rest brings fears,
Of impotence, and broken promises
To those who still live!

“Just for today, you’ll be alright,” they say.
“Tomorrow never comes.” Since we were five we’ve known,
Tomorrow always comes, sometimes too soon,
Sometimes too late. Today has always been
Much less predictable.

“It will pass,” they say.
Fools! Why give us logic at a time like this?
Why! passing things give way to greater obstacles
Than we can dare to even contemplate.

“Here.’ Now! !This moment is all,” they say.
If this is all then all is nothingness
And the pit must grow, its edges crawling more and more
Into our fearful awareness of the present void.

© EGB October 1970

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