The Book of Life


“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

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

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

what happened?


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
    What did happen?
    Oh, this is a magnificent poem, Steven. Magnificent.

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