Someone knows it all,
But it’s not me, nor you,
Nor could it ever be,
For if it were, the magic
Of the thought of knowing
In an unknown world would suddenly disappear.
And, where would you be then?
Maybe better off, because
You might try looking for answers,
You have, up until now,
Left for others or another to find.
In the end, it is not important
That there exsits an answer for
Everything, rather, that we can find
The answers to the things
We need to know. “But ,how do we know
What we need to know?” you might ask.
Look around you.
Can you find something
That doesn’t seem right?
“But”, you say, “I cannot tell the difference
Between right and wrong, and that’s the problem.”
You’re in trouble. Have you ever studied law?
How about anthropology?
Ever read a novel? Get to know the culture
Of the society in which you live. Talk to your friends,
Your family, and those, and others, who think
They know the difference. But, be wary,
For right and wrong change from society to society,
And are not always clear, no matter what the circumstance.
You say, “I’m feeling alone. No one understands me.”
Do you understand yourself?
Put away your foolish pride, and get to know others.
You may be the center of your world, but
You are not the center of someone elses,
Not even your Mom’s or your best friend’s.
You are afraid to ask? But why?
Most people like to talk about themselves.
Just show that you truly care.
Seek until you can find the answers
To what is important. Or, discover
That knowing the answer is no longer
Worth the effort, because you
Have found a bigger problem
Along the way. You are important to you,
And maybe even to others, if you have
Something to offer. There are those, who frown
Upon those who would make the world a better place,
And even those who would laugh.
There are those who actually make it better.
Seek out the latter!
There are those who would build
Fences around themselves, and are envied
By others for having done so. Don’t let envy
Get the better of you. Those others
May have the means and the power,
But likely not the answers to the questions
That you seek -- else, why would they
Need to build the fences?
Do not be fooled by appearances.
Greed will not make you happy.
If you think you know the answer
And must prove it to others.
Then, by every reasonable means, do so;
But do not plague the world
With your thoughts about answers to questions
That are hardly important.
Death? It is something that no one
Can avoid, it’s built into our genes --
Like old age. Have you ever seen someone
Grow younger? Maybe happier, and thus more
Like a child, because they have thrown away
Some senseless burden, far too big for any one
Person to carry. Do not be anyone’s mule.
Be your own ant, and where your burden with pride.
Just don’t forget that there are many ants,
And not all ants are created equal.
You are a giant, you say? I hadn’t noticed.
Oh, you want to be a giant. There is a difference.
It takes time to build a house, a firm.
It takes time to write a book, produce a movie.
You want to sing well? Be patient, persevere.
“But, I won’t live forever,” you say.
You do not need to. Half the fun of life
Is getting to where you want to go.
It’s not just about having arrived.
“But, I am alone,” you say.
So, are we all. Have you forgotten your mother?
Never were you closer to anyone.
Has she forgotten you?
Have you ever given birth to a child?
Have you ever raised your own?
When was the last time you said, “Thanks”?
The feeling is gone. Alas, many of us die alone.
It is an ignomious quirk of nature,
And why friends are so important.
You say, “You haven’t any.”
It is never too late to find some.
Just do not expect instant understanding.
Like a garden, friendship is something
To be cultivated. You must dig the soil.
And plant the seed.
Death? Yes, its a way out.
Unlike birth, you can choose.
Just don’t be careless about your decision,
Because we have never met,
And, you might just be the friend I need,
And the world wants,
If only you knew yourself and the world
So as to find your way out of your wilderness
For the moment you must endure.
Life is not always easy, but if your goal is worthy,
You will find a way,
Provided that you persevere,
And remain courageous -- true to yourself,
The goals that you seek to achieve,
And the questions you have yet to answer.
My heart is with you, because you are a part of me.
You are humanity, you are life, and you are mine.
You can go backward in your mind,
But always you must go forward in time.
Do not waste it, because your time,
Like mine, is short.
Surely, you once knew happiness.
If you cannot remember, then try again.
And keep trying until you have found it,
If only in your memory. It is enough.
Then, remember over and over,
Until that memory is alive and well,
And you can build upon it afresh.
Life is forgiving; it replenishes itself.
Death paves the way to life,
For it is in the passing of the old
That the new are born.
Have you left something behind
For those to follow who come after you?
Hong Kong, 24 December 2004
R. A. Stegemann
revised 25, 26, 27 December 2004
Acknowledgments - ProZ.com KudoZ language pairs, and friends