Of What Remains?

Giving’s different now for me as final days draw nigh and I let go
     Of acquisition as a way of life that dates
           Back to the days when hunters gathered in
                For coming years of lean.

My Scottish forbearers loved the ‘pipes’ and filled the bag
     With stores of air, then punched it into drone and tune
          Intent to fill the bag, while chanting indirect
                Out of its gathered store.

Our freezer, bin, and pantry, cistern from the river,
       computer, notebook, elders – all bespeak the wonder
          And potential of a stored-up asset for that day.

Then too, financial tools can store,
     In this bright day of hope – though just as fragile as the
          Rest – even more than the captured sight and sound
              Of mediated thought – ephemeral all.

There’s freedom in the knowledge that it all goes back
     To naught that others might these remnants seize
          And twist them to their ends – it frees one
               To relax and use what’s needed to the full
                    Then let it go and move on with the day -- like improv –
                         Focus bigger than the sprightly interaction
                              Of our transient joy.

And so I find my getting shift to giving – no longer
     Fit to steward – as the questions rise – where best to
          Give – or is such ours to choose?

Maybe it’s best to give into the wings as some stage-
     Actor goes about a part in this or that short drama’s
          Small delicious times of interaction –
                Or just to be consistent with one’s core.

We give away our time and tools and treasures – wrought in 
     Craft or thought  -- but even in so doing see
          That mostly what’s now given are but shells and husks
                Reminders to the others of a life once lived
                     Now gone to dust with echoes only in the hills
                          Of one such vibrant life.

Then the first of circling vultures come,
     To strip for others what’s
          Still left from us – we see or sense  them –
               First to take the undefended turf and tasks that
                    Filled our days and sucked up praise and pay and
                         Thought, without remorse.

The quest for things not far behind, though viewed as crass
     Thought best to wait the closing moments of the siege – while
          Others pain away the hours and days,
               Unseen – till days when, source
                    Forgot, the others did not notice
                         How things slipped away nor
                              Whence they went.

It gives a paltry sense of power to give with purpose
     Fore this hour which wanes so fast to
          Nothingness for us – a last and futile push
               Against the forces that impinge on us
                    Throughout our days
                         Unnoticed till the pressure
                              On the flaws of Structure
                                   Crush the hulls of this
                                        Frail craft in life.

So, ‘what to give?’ if ‘give at all” – or let it go
     And watch the show of family friends and strangers play
          Their lives out there for all to see like
                Some great closing sale when Christmas season
                     Failed to generate sufficient sale to warrant
                          Further effort on our part.

We see their values – use or trade – based on accountings
     Elsewhere made – not in themselves for valued splayed –
          So fiendish-like the cleanup crews sweep
               Clean the hull of larger stuff then crows
                    And worms  remainders scuff till
                         All is cleansed save creaky hull
                              Which rust and time or cutters
                                   Cull for parts and substance
                                        Till all nothingness remains.

So what of all that bag of air which Scotsmen played
     To make that Air? ’Tis gone and bag
          Long since collapsed, the pipes broke
               Down and in their box, but what
                    Lives on in hearts of men –
                         The tunes they played
                                     That soaked right in.