A Poem: Sides

Two sides of the coin.

Sorrow and joy,
love and loss.

And the river runs swift.

These life courses
we have placed our faith in.

We can hold them tight in our wallets,

our coins,
that the only imprints upon them

are our own hands squeezing,

counting out
our precious acquisitions.

Or we can hold them loosely.

That they might fly
and flip in the wind,

land in the river,

tossed and blown about
by tide and weather.

Circumstance,

or some trick of fate that sees them

now heads, now tails,
joy and pain.

There is a word called serendipity,

which sounds something like
happiness right on queue.

And mischance,

speaking benignly of fortune lost
in a sad, swift stroke

that the Gods appear angry.

And then there is calamity,
which echoes in its length

as lament does,
loud, and then

hauntingly soundless.

But better I think
are our wringing hands in the river

than tightly gripped.

This river being more life to some,
more reassuring

and sustaining,

than all the good luck,
and fortuitous circumstances

in the world combined.

More of worth than all the coin,
and all the love

we each can possess.

That we are a river,
that we don’t walk but swim in,

is a memory we are to let return.

If we are to live
and laugh even,

with joy and pain engraved,

in inclement weather
and rushing tides.

Aware how

no coin is truly ours
and without this rushing body

there is no blessing at all,

everything dependent as it is
on the tumultuous whole.

Ana Lisa de Jong
Living Tree Poetry
August 2021


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