Failure

Suffering?  Only lightly. Inwardly.
Searching for an exit all the same
in darkness and half light,
while elsewhere there’s a birth:
an unknown life for a new year.

Realising guilt and satisfaction,
I witness my best conflicted hopes
become a crumpled ball of paper
arcing in the air, discarded numbers
thrown to ricochet around and round

As bonfired sparks drift brightly outwards
flighting in the updraft
snuffed before they reach the ground
and others fall there smouldering
thinly smoking remnants of an enigmatic life

Now charred and bent; portrayed,
perhaps sustained, perhaps undone,
by maggots eating rotten flesh
around the ulcers worn, inevitably,
by bacteria in shoes.

Shorn of confidence and purpose
unwound without a plan to reconfigure;
distorted by the gravity of obligation
but posed in its authentic language
our question still remains:

Did you give your best?

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