In Times of Crisis
To think is to be human; fully think
No bar to living in the spirit fully--
To choose—“to live”—though pushed unto the brink,
In face of shock, though treated badly cruelly.
“We see as much as we may choose of it,”
The spiritual reality and basis
In all the universe; may wish to quit,
To die, as death compared, seems an oasis.
Choosing to live, yet in full knowledge of
The difficulty such a choice entails,
The suffering and pain to come enough,
The prospect of despair when spirit fails.
The will to live against the choice to die
Against the overmastering defeat
A situation promises, throat dry
As consciousness fades in and out discrete.
To live, to live! Where does this gumption come
That makes the will to struggle, and survive?
To make the hard choice, even though the sum
Of options offered seem to say, “not live.”
Human emotions are the same. The dread
We feel is common to us all. Why cry?
When we are lucky, even though we bled,
That we may live, which is prosperity.
To not be conquered of the self, but conquer,
This is the challenge of the soul, quoth Plato.
To live one’s days in will becoming stronger
To meet and master, rather than give way to
Insuperable odds and difficulty
Of present situation—is that faith?
Religion as an answer strikes one faulty
That has perceived the spirit underneath.
We look at men or women who have beaten
Some terrible infirmity, or fear,
Yet realize, that none of us is cretin,
But have resources we may tap, such near.
Even the frailest of us yet has deep,
Deep wells of will and power, courage, strength
To draw upon, than rather go to sleep
In that goodnight so kindly at arm’s length.
Death holds a hand to us, and we are beckoned
To reach for it, in times of our despair,
Because, by circumstance, the will is weakened
And knowledge tells us—death—is easier.
Do not make heroes of these men and women
Who, in the face of unimagined stress
Have chosen life—when you as well may swim in
The currents of adversity, no less
“Heroic” in the eyes of others. Faced
With troubles seeming hopeless you may call
Similar forces—those in crisis waste
No words such as on “heroes” we extol.
Blessed are they who have trained in discipline,
Mental acuity, and who have learned
The value of hard work though it not win
Gratification instantly—not spurned
Emotion but who know to see and act
In spite of their emotions, overrule
Them where composure must be kept intact,
To master crisis so by keeping cool.
Blessed are they who have not learned self-indulgence,
In mind or body, that which leads to sloth,
But train to act according to divulgence
Of reason, that which overrides them both.
Rational minded action in a person
Of moral quality, will save the day,
Where heeding loose emotion but will worsen
The situation—there’ll be hell to pay.
The question of survival may depend
On calm, collected thought, not acting crazy,
Dispassionate evaluation, trend
That tends the opposite among the lazy.
It often is the preparation we
Devote ourselves to when the time is calm,
That blossoms forth full unexpectedly
When we are shattered by a sudden storm.