Accepting Compromise

poem by Ken Holmes, Summer 2012


When fully-fledged dreams do not come true
Or those that shone, once upon a time, in beauty
Are now done and through, the best years spent?
How well can I, do I, accept compromise
So as to become a text-book case of "wise"?
Will I allow the flames of blame in self-pity city
To leap from thatch to thatch uncontained,
Venting searing pains all through nightime's watch?
No! Never such complicity in my own savage destruction
Better to douse flames, make firebreaks and bring resurrection.
With thought and feeling, art and skill, the tangled wreckage
From its twisted knots can be reworked into something finer still.
Bucket after bucket, passed from hand to hand in chain
Must combat the cindering citadel until compassion rains
Its deluge on and all around the black and scorchèd ground
And within a new world wild flowers and nature's web abounds.