The Book of Life

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“Perhaps the book of life, in the end, is the book of what one has lived and if one has lived nothing, he is not in the book of life. “ Merton, Thomas, When the Trees Say Nothing: Writings on Nature

Turn the pages
past the flashy cover
beyond sincere dedications;
what do you
read?

Are there tragedies
lurking in your leafy folds?
Do you struggle, oh Hero,
with sirens and one-
eyed peep-
ing Toms?

Are you triumphant?

In your brief tale,
do you satisfy
harried Plot’s demands?

Are you happy
with your climax, your
denoue-
ment?

Or, with eyes moist and red,
at last do you drop
your ragged volume
to the musty cellar floor,
and wonder,

what happened?

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4 thoughts on “The Book of Life

  1. This is as good a poem as you have written Steven, and you have written many good poems. It is also a wonderful starting place for reflecting on your life. This speaks to me especially powerfully at the moment. I am 66 on August 15th and eligible for retirement. No one at the college wants me to retire, and I’ve promised to go on past August 15th, but for how long? I think I have lived a significant enough life to write about, but what about the
    …climax, your
    denoue-
    ment?
    What did happen?
    Oh, this is a magnificent poem, Steven. Magnificent.

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