To a friend, on her birthday

Swelling burdens have made our hearts colder,
Harder is the mind that becomes older,
Bitter are the years that keep on flowing,
Darker the despair that keeps on growing.
Fortunes or the vainer Powers That Be
Have pushed our souls to each extremity;
Our lives have inverted each dream we dreamed
Into the opposite of what they seemed.

But through it all, oh, dearest friend of mine,
In one way bested were the hands of Time:
No word or action, great or small, signifies
This presence of Hope that most love denies,
It lasts as better parts of you and me,
In some better part of eternity.


The Last Temptation

Before descending into earthly dust,
I must’ve stood before the Powers-That-Be,
What I could, what I should and what I must,
To a point where Mammon conditioned me
On how I need to worship his deity.
I must’ve smiled then, which raised powerful brows,
As I still do on this world, here and now
(Though these brows have nothing to do with fate)
I must’ve said something to his contrary;
The others must’ve smiled at this intellectual snobbery.
Then I was thrown down to this existence
But Mammon’s Father must’ve had the last laugh:
For wasn’t the Last Temptation a Life in the Ordinary?