There are places I resist going.
Inward places of mind
where dwell wretched remnants of good ideas never
(beyond the ephemeral vapors of imagination)
made incarnate in benevolent action
once started, unfinished,
leaving undone what I ought to have done;
thus, remaining as tarnished images of my still(to-be)born best self.
There are days and moments of days
When I pray for the failure of memory
or, at blessed least, some state of long-term forgetfulness.
But, no, so far, in my living and aging,
apparently, not for me…
For specters of past errors
(some unintended mistakes and some, yes, conscious choices)
fly back to me, oft unbidden,
prancing across the stage of my remembrance
as taunting entertainment
for me, an audience of one.
For I dare not (ever) invite any others to view the performance
nor recount to them
(when, once again, it hath come to its finale,
and I run screaming from my inner-theater)
what I observed.
For how (damnably repeatably true) it is
that, when watching a scene
from some regrettable chapter of my life’s story,
I see something else, something new;
not brighter or better, but darker, drearier,
reminding me that I was and always am able to be a bad-actor.
Yet, and, surely, not by my designing, e’en my believing
(it must be – darest I foist this on God’s doing? – a work of Divine interceding),
there is good to be found (aye, I find good) in my shadow-world.
neither do I (dare I) lie to myself,
proclaiming myself better than I am
nor punish myself
(with that banal brand of egocentric false modesty)
for being the worst of all humankind.
Rather, in honesty,
alway clear-eyed, sometimes brutal,
I accept myself for who I am.
In this, for others I have greater empathy
and deeper trust in God’s mercy.
Endnote: My title, Oh, the places I’ll not go!, is my (serious!) play on the illustrated children’s book about life’s journey and its challenges, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990) by Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991), better known as Dr. Seuss.