Drifters

At 21 we had the script by heart,
the clever put-downs that were all the rage.
The list of topics, barely worth a fart
from our esteemed behinds on centre stage,
grew by the day, so that, by 22,
the sum of things worth knowing we knew we knew.
Our families were suitably impressed
upon, to give their feeble tongues a rest
and let us have our say. They didn't mind.
They knew that time would prove a sterner test
and those who never seek will never find.

Some day, if feeling so inclined, I'll chart
the challenges we met, to let you guage
their relevance. Together we can start
a deconstruction. No? Then to assuage
your trepidation, one event will do -
There was a man, a stranger, passing through.
Barefoot, with shaven head, and loosely dressed
in yellow robes, hands folded to his breast.
We laughed at him, a coward's laugh, behind
his back. He turned and nodded, undistressed,
and those who never seek will never find.

And one of us turned preacher, learned the art
of raising heaven from the dusty page
by metaphor. Unmindful of Descartes,
he did not care to think but liked to wage
war on our sensibilities, "The true
believer is a pot of Irish stew
stirred by the hand of God!" Who would have guessed
the faithful were so seasonally blessed?
But mocking such a clown would be unkind.
If low in rigor he was high in zest
and those who never seek will never find.

Another bought a donkey and a cart
and set his sights on turning back the page
on progress. He was not ashamed to clart
his hands in soil, and soon became the sage
of onion growers, learning to eschew
the chemicals and fertilisers. Who
could fail to pity when the onion pest
(a yellow grub) decided to invest
its future in his crop? But he was blind
to qualms and served them through Octoberfest,
and those who never seek will never find.

And each of us from potentate to tart
is free to quit the comfortable cage
of routine, gird our loins and play a part.
No call to be a craven coprophage
or necrophile, no need to swallow glue
(unless, of course, the flavour's right for you).
But no-one found his way who no'd and yes'd
to corporate demand, who rode the crest
of someone else's wave, who duly signed
his hopes away at management's behest,
and those who never seek will never find.

Wanderers all, take heart - your way is best.
Life is a question posed, an endless quest
for greater questions. Certainties will bind
the soul as sure as chains around the chest,
and those who never seek will never find.

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