A poem for the New Year.

My Heart’s Desire

In the darkness
something inside me asks, as it always does,
What is it your heart most desires?
And I will say back, Well, there’s always
something, isn’t there?
A good long walk in the mountains
where the wind mourns in the trees,
or maybe just a frank talk with an angel
about the way things are really going for me.
And as long as I’m asking, how about
a big, quick sword to kill this ego of mine
and then, on the side perhaps
a little brook in the springtime
delighting the child who’s still buried in me.
And then, too, I’d like a cure for every fear I face,
(ditto every regret, guilt, shame and denial),
so please give me a pair of magic boots
to tread on them as if mere blades of grass
between quotidian here and cosmic there.
Money and love are also good things to ask for,
can’t get too much of them, though if push
comes down to shove, I’d settle for
an end to partisan bickering and
the restoration of a common hope and peace.
Let’s also not forget food and shelter for all,
an end to cruelty toward helpless dogs and cats,
the reconciliation of all parents with all children,
and a world where strangers discover
the clasp of kindness, forgiveness and redemption.
And then maybe, finally, when I’m tired enough
of the burden, I’d like just a simple
acceptance of time passing,
acceptance of the heart’s constant yearnings,
letting go of the way they ache as they crawl
through my dreams and the dark room around me,
so that I can stop this incessant asking once and for all
and, tonight anyway, get some rest.

Dan Oestreich

December 31, 2017


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