MS (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0168letter To A Troubled Youngster

you come from a family that –
well, I’ve known better and,
I’ve certainly known worse..
but all you want right now
is to get right away from them,
live your own life, make
your own mistakes.. and
half of you is looking forward to
doing just that, and
half of you’s not sure..
OK so far? I’m trying to be fair…

now here are some sketches of
what life may hold:

there’s the random, no-plan plan –
life happens; no plan, no control;

or there’s the existentialist view:
I make my own life, I’m in control,
and then I live it; that’s it,
I’m strong.

or there’s the Indian view:
that in some timeless way
which may be, how you played it
in a previous life; or right now, as outside time;
you’ve set yourself this scenario which
you’ve got another chance, now,
to improve, resolve, in order to..
live fully? be your own real self?
be happy? help the world? ..
fill this one in yourself

or there’s the view that God,
the gods, the Fates (fill this one in, too
or leave it blank for later) , anyway
Someone Up There or
Someone In Here
has – as the Stoics believed –
set your life as a series of
lessons to be learned. The right answers
that you may or may not have got right
may or may not be at the back of the book
but with a bit of luck, you’ll have a pretty clear idea
with this in mind, of how it’s going

But whichever, the great thing is –
treat all the hurdles as
challenges to overcome; even,
if you’re that strong, look forward every day
to what may happen; and when it does,
be glad, whether it seems ‘good’ or ‘bad’,
give it your full and glad acceptance, ’cos
that’s how it’s going to be, anyways..and
you may learn more that way

and have a lot of fun in the sense
of freedom, that this view will, shall, bring

and sorry if all this is trite.. it’s the best that
I can do; have sometimes done;
and no, I haven’t always followed
my own advice..

so enjoy, and good luck.. for, who knows,
it may not be just luck

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Comments (2)

When I was a boy the first poem that had an impact on me was 'The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner'. It was not the story, that had the effect but the fact that something valuable: experience; was being passed on. It is in that respect that this piece brings Coldridge back to my mind. Poetry is such a wonderful medium for expressing the lessons of life. In this piece, Michael, you take care to measure your words and structure the work, with such precision as to emphasise those word. I don't think that you could have used any other medium to express your theme: Prose would only come over as a lecture. The recipient of this piece (assuming there is such a person) is, indeed very fortunate tyo know that there is someone who takes such care in their response. We, the readers, are also fortunate that you chose to share this with us. Well done Michael!
sometimes despair erases all words speech simply not enough and what sadness takes over a young lad is helpless and only grace will uplift and sometimes grace never comes a fine exploration