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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Surprised by Joy
By Kenneth Bridge
09/12/07


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The pursuit of happiness is the American birthright
An endless chasing after perpetual delight
And yet the quarry remains elusive, like bright and silvery fish at play
That swim between my fingers then dart off before I can
Close my fists and clutch them tight,
O the stories I could tell about the ones that got away

No pleasure remains, just the grit of regret,
The taste of ashes and stale crumbs to mark the fleeting moment
Of hyperactive cackling laughter in the crowd
Now its dimming echo draws shuddering breath beneath the shroud
Of twisted, wrinkled sheets, Lazarus refusing to come out

And joy I have yet to find

Or laboring hard after position and power
Gilded trophies testify to courage, acumen and industry
Someone not to be trifled with, a name that inspires fear
A command presence that demands obedience and provokes jealousy
But the cost of performance is too steep, I hear
And failure will exact a fearful price some fateful hour

The delights of romance, the everlasting dance
Warm, giddy, dizzy, laughter, wine and roses,
Eyes sparkling like diamonds swimming in sapphire
Then falls the shadow, when bills come due neither partner owes,
But some past felon whose charges they now acquire
And icy solitude squeezes hard a heart of stone, last chance.

And joy I have yet to find

Happiness, always pursued, always fleeing,
Just ahead, around the corner, one more hill
But happenstance and circumstance never agreeing
To abide and grow deeper and fill
The deep longings of life in a world haunted by death
For happenstance and circumstance can offer no rest

So lifting my eyes from seeking the prize
That taunted forever beyond my sense
I busied myself without thought of tomorrow
And applied myself with what I had, why bother to borrow?
With daily bread came daily strength
Honest labor and restful sleep
And promises I wanted to keep
Deep true laughter to counter worldly sorrow
Service gladly offered without recompense

And joy is mine, to my surprise!


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/16/07
Your last stanza is marvelous!

If you pursue publishing this, you may have to choose a different title; your title is the same as an authobiography of C. S. Lewis. It's a great title!

Some really nice images in this poem.