There’s a loneliness in staying strong,
And it doesn’t come from the weight of the load.
Somehow you find ways not to crumble,
But there’s no relief from doubt.
How can you be seen as strong
When you doubt the very existence
Of the strength you’re supposed to have?
What is strength anyway?
Just getting up, facing the new day,
Shaky, but willing to deal with what comes?
Doesn’t each of us do that
If we’re to survive at all?
Or is it lending an ear
And offering advice when asked,
Even when the words from your mouth
Seem preposterously thin?
What have you done to make things better,
You ask, when there’s no proof either way?
The evidence around you says
That there are no guarantees,
But have you made the mistake
Of implying that there are?
Get help for yourself you are told,
And you seek it. You talk to friends
Who may be wiser and read books
Chocked full of confident truths.
But still you tote your private thoughts,
Your clock the setting and the rising sun.
You shamble along, hoping it’s forward,
Peering hazily toward some vague goal.
You properly square your shoulders.
You stumble on a poem and you write it.
Charles B. Neff