Retreat

Why fight?

We fight to make the best of it we can
now life retreats against advancing age;

To hold some local ground by skirmishes
and gain a modest tactical success,
a rearguard post, a feint defiant ploy,
a line to be abandoned in the longer run,
for the best, before encirclement when
faced by overwhelming odds:  the ragged,
haggard, grizzled, other’s face, reflecting
daily more clearly than I would admit
the inherent truth of our condition,
our wishful, compromised inheritance.

Why burn?

To prolong our finite struggle to survive
we burn energy that will not be replaced
to win us time we cannot buy, in which
we may adapt to changing circumstance –
Straitened means, circumscribed circumference,
scarce diluted fuel eked out on lesser torque
needs must controlled with care, calibrating
deflections to questions we would yet avoid –
For each choice made now reduces future options
as focus sharpens in a shallow depth of field.

We fight because we are; we burn because we can;
because our values place our actions above fate.

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