Vice and Virtue
By Cameron Raps
In shadow stashed and hid from all the world,
I keep my treasure pile, my feast of gold.
I earned it; ‘Tis my right for all my work,
And thieves do roundabout my hovel lurk.
My library is filled with books uncut,
And I walk through the town in lofty strut.
Yet I have found that cave to be quite cold
Since none but I can share in all my gold.
Imparting all by obligation’s throw
I stand above the hungry crowd below,
And drop my coins into the gnashing maws
That in my place would swallow even laws.
They’d tear asunder all, for all I know,
And yet I see some good in those below,
For I could never walk an idle course
By crying children and not feel remorse.
I lie in fallow fields to pass the time,
Letting all the crows upon me dine.
I move as water moves through valleys deep,
Where glaciers have already earned their keep,
For only fools go blazing trails alone,
While I, the wiser, wait until they’re done.
My only inconvenience is the wait,
But I care not to try and skew my fate.
Toil oft and toil out of sight,
Work from dawn to dusk, all day and night.
Hammer, anvil, coulter, shovel, axe;
My only friends, for I cannot relax.
I must complete my project in this life,
And I will see it done through blood and strife.
Diversion shall not touch me while I stand
To chase and drive the ravens from my land.
Indulge the senses, heed each wicked urge.
Let all your passion unabated surge.
I seek no more than all debauchery,
And fighting it is only misery.
Just taste it once and you will wonder why
You ever in this life would dare deny
That you are just as weak a hypocrite
As all who hide the fires they have lit.
The least important part of mortal life
Is seeking after that which causes strife,
Which is to trap the spirit in a coil
That’s prone to fail and weep and sin and toil.
No no, this cannot be, for we must bridle
Every single passion sitting idle,
For temporal desires only prove
To cloud the end to which all things should move.
A feast was laid before a royal court,
Who feasted heartily, as fit the sort
Who have so much they cannot eat it all,
But try they might, and trying always fall
Into the pit of swine that grunt and squeal
And live for nothing but tomorrow’s meal.
A shorter, more delicious life is theirs,
So free of all life’s joys and all life’s cares.
Starvation plagues the layman and the fool
Who fails to conquer Self and o’er it rule,
For seeking food in times of famine dry
Brings thinning hands to supplicate the sky,
And all the while, no rain upon it falls.
We close our ears to mother nature’s calls,
Which ask for nothing more than carefulness
When much is given, for soon there will be less.
The verdigris that graces every cheek
Can poison all the humble and the meek.
The mouths that feed the ghoul are wanton eyes
That swallow truth and grind it into lies.
Lifetimes ruined, enjoyment disavowed
As one offended by them speaks aloud,
For jealous hearts can never bear to see
Others enjoy what for them could not be
Each day that shines with pure elation fair
Within a sea of normal days is rare.
Oft times we tempt ourselves to cope and tread
With promises of fairer days ahead.
Quite valueless these unfair days may seem,
For nothing happened worthy of esteem,
But even the most mediocre day
Is preferable to darkness and decay.
Thunderous and furious, the storm
Tears into the mountain’s steadfast form.
Rain and hail bring boulders to the ground.
While lightning cackles, only fears abound,
For no one takes reward, not even the cloud,
Its life so short, its voice so very loud.
Pity be to all that cradle anger;
Unto the Self it poses greatest danger.
All the fields await the warmer suns,
But some among the blooms are eager ones,
Their zeal in growth led us to call it spring
When all the buds that waited rise and sing,
But those that bloom too early plucked be,
While later flowers, unnoticed, go free.
Of all the time that I anticipate,
The final stretch is where I shape my fate.
Stand tall and none shall reach you, mighty tree.
To live above the clouds is to be free,
Or so the lofty tree top boldly thought
Until its starving roots began to rot.
It grew so tall and reached so very high,
Advancing toward the heavens, toward the sky,
Until its roots could cling no more below,
And timberfall became its overthrow.
Some heads might only bow when bludgeoned oft,
But others gladly bow to promptings soft,
For they learn wisdom earlier than most;
That happier are souls that never boast.
The quick, the proud, the mighty have their share,
But with the world is tied all worldly care.
The mouse that grovels low is seldom heard,
While archers aim to kill the singing bird.