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Ron Henry

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Am I Good?
by Ron Henry
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Recent poems by Ron Henry
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It's hard too be good if you can't face where you are not.

Am I Good?

I lie here in my lonely room
And sense an awful kind of gloom.
It's all around me, but it's more.
It lies deep within my core.

I want to brush aside this "gloom"
And try to sweep it out of the room
So I can have a normal day
And keep this heaviness at bay.

But the penetrating sadness just won't go
And for the first time I want to know
Why I feel despair inside?
Why this grief I cannot hide?

Then they come in the morning light,
Fierce soldiers dressed all in white,
And roust me from my place of sleep
And demand that I look hard and deep.

One by one they tramp along
Soldiers of conscience marching strong
Advancing towards me with swords drawn
Demanding I face where I am wrong.

At first I tremble at their sight
And want to turn and run in fright
But I'm surrounded and it's clear
They have no use for my claim to fear.

I try to act like they aren't there.
I try to say I just don't care.
I try to boost my self-esteem.
Anything not to hear my screams!

But they won't bend and now I see
They see the darker side of me
And the only way I'll smile once more
Is if I face what's deep in my core.

For they've not come to strike me dead
Or cram their ideas in my head,
But as defenders of my best
They want to see me pass a test.

But this can't happen until I see
The prodding of the worst in me
And learn to fight its subtle twists
Which threaten my right to exist.

They lay the charges at my feet
And though they're gentle, they don't retreat.
But with thoroughness make their case:
There are responsibilities I won't face.

For rather than face I chose to lie
And distract myself with pleasures high
And false responsibilities to replace
The true ones I need to face.

Then one by one they list my sins
I am shocked at what I've been
And more shocked still at how I've excused
The dark methods I have used.

At first I rush to my defense
"I am good. This makes no sense.
There must have been a big mistake
Someone else these crimes did make."

But they answer, " There's no mistake.
No doubt you these crimes did make.
What matters now is that you learn
What made you take these evil turns.

"What is it in you deep within
That enjoys this kind of noxious sin?
What would make you turn aside
From what deep down you can't abide?

"Why did you choose to bury deep
And bludgeon into lifeless sleep
The parts of you that saw at birth
The responsibility you had to Earth?

"And worse still to mock and sneer
While making pretense a career
And feigning to be on the side of good
With token efforts to do what you should.

"And what of the times you knew
A friend needed you to struggle through
To wisdom, though the fight be long,
And half the world thought you in the wrong?

"And what about the skills you had
To love the good and send the bad?
To use your wit, your mind and will
To render the power of evil nil?

"But rather than do that important work
You preferred to wallow, whine and shirk
And redefined wrong as that which opposed
The foolish self-interest that you chose."

All of these things and more
These warriors of conscience laid at my door
As I sat there quiet and meek
And could not move my lips or speak.

So when you think you're doing well
And think there is no need for Hell
Ask the warriors deep within
Whether part of you is deep in sin.

And ask to know if your comfort state
The warriors in you don't hate.
And if when you your conscience betray
You don't condemn us all to a frightful day.

The warriors remember what we came to do
They can't be fooled and neither should you.
Listen well to what they say
Don't put it off one more day.

For when this life has run its course
And we are dead and full of remorse
As pure spirits that cannot lie
We'll have to admit where we didn't try.

But used every excuse in the book
To get ourselves off the hook.
We misused our clays and behaved like fools
And abused our spirits' precious tools.

There is no grief so profound and deep
As a soul whose promises it failed to keep.
So if you doubt you've done well
Ask that you be sent to God's hell.

Ask to be shown where you are wrong
So the rest of your life can be good and strong
And ask to know where you might twist
What God says and resist.

For this chance on Earth won't long last
The opportunity of today will soon be past.
When you're gone don't have to say,
"I'm sorry I failed with my clay."

Don't have to say with heavy heart
"I mostly failed to do my part.
I didn't recognize true friends
And gave myself to meaningless ends."

With these words of warning said
While I was tossing in my bed
From mountains high to caverns deep
I descended into deepest sleep.

Now in nakedness I shiver
I'm standing by a raging river
Deafened by the roiling foam
I peer through the mists to my True Home.

Tranquil shores and peaceful woods
Mountains upon which I once stood
Motives pure and goals set high
The memory of when I meant to try.

Now I long for this sacred place
So towards the bank full tilt I race
Leaping for that shore so fair
Lunging high I slap the air

And make it to that land I love
A prayer of thanks to God above.
And as I rise on that unsullied shore
Vow loyalty to wisdom evermore.

Tears of joy stream down my face
As my True Home I do embrace
And turn to see the place left behind
And the failures brought to mind.

And I want to onward and upward fly
When suddenly it catches my eye
In the raging river I view in shock
My own precious body smashed on a rock.

The anguish of my silent screams
Shatters the quietude of my dreams.
"I can't die! I have work to do!
Let me go back! I'm not yet through!"

But my clay lies motionless, empty and scattered
Because I wouldn't use it for the things that mattered.
All bets are off for the plans for that clay.
No longer will I live to fight another day.

"I see this now, and though there are ways
To fight for Right and truth without clays
But how much better off we'd all be
If I could use a body to make the world see.

"And though now I'll try as hard as I can
To bring to fruition God's great plan
I too late now realize
The good I could do if I'd been wise.

"If I ever get the chance again
To the join the ranks of living men
I know I'll fight with heart and brain
To see God's will done again.

"I'll not become lazy and fat
And behave like a spoiled brat,
Who thinks having clay is my right
And my worth is measured by my might.

"Nor will I play that wicked game,
Putting all I know to shame,
By saying life's only for having fun.
That brings confusion great and meaning none.

"Nor will I say amassing wealth on Earth
Will somehow make me know my worth,
For gain ill-gotten blinds the soul
And diverts us from our deepest goals.

"But in every way I'll work to be true
And remember what I came to do,
So when long last my course is run
God can say, "You did well, my son."

Such were the thoughts in my spirit brain,
As I vowed to myself again and again,
Never more to squander my chance
To do my utmost to help wisdom advance.

And as I lay quietly repeating my vow,
Asking and asking the why and the how,
My eye opened sharply. I saw the sun's rays
Dissolving the milky early morning haze.

And rising from the bed upon which I lay
I pondered the meaning of this brand new day,
And saw the promise that I could do what I should
Because I had begun to face where I wasn't good.

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