He bestrode the narrow world like a colossus
Yet a little while later he lay in the dust,
Lifeless then, his words carried no weight
His detractors before having vented their hate.
There were many who in their lofty positions
Behaved as though they were a law unto themselves
But today they no longer exist having passed away
Leaving only memories and their photos on our shelves.
Yet these life lessons are not readily learned
Particularly by those who follow in their path
And like their predecessors they too follow suit
And are plunged ironically down the same shaft.
History ignored, it has been said, is likely to be repeated;
This sentiment has been proven mostly to be true,
Clearly the time is now when we must be aware
That unless we do differently we too will fall through.
“Not me, you mean you; it could never happen to me,”
Is the response when confronted with the same,
It is always the other person who falls for the trap
Yes, the other person against whom is this claim.
Life is particularly unpredictable I would remind
And what it dishes out can happen to you,
None of us has control over the vicissitudes of life
Only God Almighty is privy to that view.
The mighty and weak, their outcome is the same,
The rich and the poor no different they be,
The grim reaper respects neither class nor creed,
He conquers all: both the slave and the free.
In life money is the voice most are keen to hear
While fame and power are not too far behind,
The learned and the not so bright are in the same frame
But them all some day the great leveler will find.
The fickle nature of life is not only seen in death
But oft in the harsh realities that come our way,
These are sometimes more difficult to comprehend
And for some death is the desired option at the end of the day.
For these suicide was far more agreeable than life
That’s why death became their solution through it all,
The poor and destitute as well as the wealthy and powerful
Have on occasions capitulated to the suicidal call.
It matters not how great you think you might be
Or even how abundantly wealthy you really are,
Life could suddenly deal you the most vicious of hands
That neither your greatness nor wealth would be on par.
A debilitating illness or loss of accumulated wealth,
Some unforeseen circumstance for which you couldn’t plan,
It may be loss of sight or as simple as an amputated limb
It could be one or both or your dependable right hand.
It could be a stay in the hospital for an indefinite time
Perhaps due to an accident for which you were not liable,
Or some other unplanned for “rarely ever happens” event
From the clutches of which it was virtually inescapable.
You see life is a vapor that only appears for a little time,
It is like the early morning fog that dissipates with the sun,
It is like the flower of a plant that flourishes for a while
Then in the heat of the day it comes to the end of its run.
We are just as vulnerable in the face of the vagaries of life
Better to learn from another’s example and if possible avoid his strife,
For as sure as night follows day we too will suffer his fate
If rather than accept life’s lesson we enter in at his gate.
A word to the wise then is sufficient
And I trust that this reader is wise,
If so you will accept these words of wisdom
And life’s lessons you won’t despise.
Stewart Russell © 2017