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Leland Waldrip

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by Leland Waldrip

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Rated "G" by the Author.
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I think this is at once the darkest poem I ever wrote — and the most optimistic.



Attrition subtracts from the whole,

Pieces fall away as time flows by,

Residual continues in reduced role,

Dwindling as more pieces die.


Such a case is the stream of life,

Yours and mine, all alive today.

Reproductive cells, utterly rife,

And only two not stripped away.


These two could be another two,

And ours have never met,

Our half-self or sibling true ,

Is what our parents might get.  


For our ancestors, was also true ,

However far we delve in the past,

Risks, even to conceptions, continue,

Quarter to a half die — are out cast.


Deliberate terminations take toll,

As do uncontrolled mother’s ills,

Premature births play a role,

And many fetuses, disease kills.  


Many diseases are DNA innate,

With genetic anomalies built in,

Babies born then, a status rate,

May’ve skipped attrition’s ash-bin.


At birth, long odds have been beat,

But childhood diseases still face,

With young adulthood a repeat,  

And late life’s ills give little grace.


Other perils with being a person:

Vast opportunities for bodily harms —

Muggings, robbery, murder, arson,

Accidents from autos and firearms.


Misappropriating laws of physics,

Like the biggies: gravity and inertia,

Electricity, or oxygen basics,

All these and more can “getcha”!


If none of these drop you dead,

Or leave you crippled and sad,

Number of years on your head,

Must eventually bomb your ballad.


But with all this mayhem inherent,

Look back in awestruck wonder.

You’ll see it’s not all abhorrent —

It’s luckiest of stars we’re under.


We could have been lost to another,

Or very early exited the world scene.

We could have missed life altogether —

Yet we star our movie — widescreen!


© 2009 R. Leland Waldrip

Rappahannock Books

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Reviewed by Ronald Hull 2/4/2009
Love your movie. Unfortunately attrition no longer equals production, weakening genetic strength and poisoning the Earth.

Still crippled, but no longer sad, awaiting the rage of age,

Reviewed by Regis Auffray 2/4/2009
You are a "thinker" Leland and those of us who are fortunate to read you are lucky indeed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts via your verses. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by C. J. Stevens 2/3/2009
A remarkably fine poem, and so deeply true. It is the kind of poem one reads over and over and nods with recognition.
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