Goethe & Me Poem by Jim Yerman

Goethe & Me

Rating: 5.0

I find myself agreeing a lot with Goethe lately…
yes, I think it would be fair
to say I spend as much time on top of the world…
as I do floundering in the depths of despair.

On top of the world at our granddaughter's 16th birthday party
on the beach with family and friends by her side…
In the depths of despair when I realized
Ann Frank was the same age when she died.

On top of the world knowing my family is safe, secure, happy
and, for the most part, free from oppression and pain…
In the depths of despair when my mind turns to the women of Iraq…and to the people suffering in Ukraine.

On top of the world as I walk my streets in the morning
unafraid…feeling invigorated and free….
In the depths of despair knowing these same streets
aren't as safe or as free for someone who looks different than me.

On top of the world when I wake up thinking life is wonderful
looking forward to another new day…
In the depths of despair knowing I might not feel the same
If I was a person of color…
a woman…
or gay.

On top of the world knowing the framers of our constitution
wrote how we all have these unalienable rights:
to the enjoyment of life
to pursuit of happiness….
to something called liberty
In the depths of despair knowing those same framers and many people today can't agree on who should be…
or exactly what it means to be free.

These are but a few examples of how one moment I'm on top of the world…living a wonder life…seemingly without a care…
and the next moment when I look around
I find myself in the depths of despair.

It's here, once again, I turn to Goethe for the hope I so desperately need to keep my outlook improving….
he said: the greatest thing in the world is not so much where we stand…
but in what direction we happen to be moving.

So every day I hope and I pray the world will right itself…
that people will be loving, compassionate and fair…
that no human…at the hands of another human
will flounder in the depths of despair.

That there will come a morning
when everyone in the world wakes up
whatever nations flag is unfurled…
and finds themselves
and free
and can join me…
on top of the world.

Bharati Nayak 11 October 2022

A great poem written by a kindred heart with humanistic outlook.

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