A secular paradigm

Let me not feel more than may be borne
For others’ troubles, cares and strife.
I am too young to be thus forlorn,
Too old to hope; to love; to wife.

Give me but coin, my span on Earth
And lend me not another’s fear;
(I’ve precious little left of worth
Still less to broker bargains here).

I promise, but to do my best
And nothing more may take from me
Those greedy souls, whose “Fie!” on rest
Would wrest what time I, false, term ‘free’.

I cannot speak, but as I find
All else would be as empty air
What use, my hand, my heart, or mind
When weighed against such meaty fare?

And fair or foul as all may be
At moments suited to their mood
I can no more deceive than see
Through blackest darkness; I’ll be good.

Ashes

To be thus reduced
Is no mean feat
No, many years’
Self-deprecation
Secret fears
Of revelation
Led to this
Profound defeat

And potted ash
In plastic bag
Awaiting our
Collective presence
To distribute
Scattered presents
Under roots
And over slag

Are neither hopeful
Gay, nor gathered
Hold no mettle
Know no solace
Barely settle
Tears like Wallace
Falling, flowing
Dread and blathered

I’d imagined
Something grander
To an ending
Unexpected
Prideful partner
Resurrected
But I’ll keep to
Lesser candour

Do another
Solemn duty
Keeping counsel
As directed
Through mistrust
Just as expected
Shroud myself
In dignity

Tomorrow’s dawn
May bring us nearer
Through the shadows
Past the post
To knowledge of
What mattered most
The future comes
A little clearer