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I See a Boy

It has been said that confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom. This can also be said of its lack. How crippling is the power of uncertainty and fear! It can reduce an otherwise mighty man to an emaciated personality fit for little more than to exist.

Ironically the victim is paralyzed so effectively by his own power which makes him so weak. In this he is practically omnipotent so far as his state is concerned. Nothing can alter this condition but a fiery judgment that comes into every man’s existence sooner or later and either delivers or destroys the wretched soul depending on his inclination and desire.

I see a BOY.

He hungers

for an acknowledgment and appreciation of himself.

He hungers for love –

which only a good father could give –

but finds none.

“See, daddy? See, daddy?” he exclaims,

waving his arms wildly.

His Daddy ignores him.

Always crestfallen, the boy is unable to cease

trying to prove, to please.

No matter the greatness of his efforts and accomplishments;

they are not enough.

His countenance tells

both his effort and his frustration.

 

I see a SOLDIER.

What an excellent soldier he is!

What a fine sword he possesses!

All his armament, his physique and his skills

are to be both admired and feared

by friend and foe alike.

But what will he do in

the Firestorm that approaches,

nay, that is even here?

As the father,

it recognizes no sword;

it laughs at physique

and scoffs at skill and experience.

 

I see a PRISONER…

in a cell.

His cell is small.

He starts and is afraid.

He darts from place to place.

He seeks solace

in his cot, his clock, his sink, his toilet,

his food tray, his allowance, his books and even

his bars.

Though he waits for the light from his window,

he prefers the dark.

At once

it comforts and discomforts him.

It hides him from others

but not from himself.

And it hides others from him.

He receives little consolation

from other prisoners,

whether from that they are

or what they are.

Not at all alone

he is very much alone.

He guards his own cell,

keeping a vigilant watch on himself

lest he escape.

The key to his door

is in his cell;

It is rusty;

his fading eye loses sight of it

and fading memory

awareness of it.

What a wonder!

Why won’t he take the key

and release himself?

Ah! He thinks it to be only a locking key!

That which would release him

he rejects and fears.

A message is passed

through his window

in rays.

Will he discover

that a father

awaits to shower

him

with all that his heart could desire

to its innermost depths?

Will he receive the new weapons and power

to prevail, yea, overcome

in the Firestorm?

Will the message get through

or will the guard see it

and prevent it

hiding it from him

telling him it will not do?

 

I see a GUARD

FORMIDABLE, thorough,

only secondly by training

but firstly by nature.

“You’re a man, not a boy!”

he says.

“You are satisfied and not hungry!”

he says.

“You’re the father, not the son!”

he says.

“You are an invincible soldier;

nothing can prevent you!”

he says.

“You are not afraid!”

he says.

“You are sound in sight,

pre-eminent in memory

and evaluation!”

he says.

“You’re not a prisoner”

he says,

“but free to come and go

possessing many books

cots

sinks

toilets

rooms

not to mention ample time and money”

he says.

“The Firestorm is a myth,

a figment

of a dreaming

idealistic

fanatical

religious

grandstanding

misfitting

zealot,

with more opinion and

only one way,

a narrow way,

a blind way

of seeing…

I think…”

he says.

(Make fast the prisoner there, guard)

“I KNOW”

he says.

He takes out pleasant cloth…

“You’re not alone”

he says.

“See, family,

friends,

associates,

some close.

What more can you

rightfully

ask?

Beware”

he says.

“Be satisfied

with what you have”

he says.

“It is a virtue

to be content

with your lot”

he says.

Persuading, the GUARD

conceals the key

with pleasant cloth,

cloth neither good nor evil of itself

but pleasant,

and secures

the PRISONER

a while longer.

 

Lethbridge, 1988

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