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WORTH

 


You were something, once,
back in those days when
others thought so too,
in thos heady times of early triumph,
when some would gladly kiss your feet
and you would let them.
It seems so long ago, now,
some ancient time when there were
different rules and different roles and
time, itself, was friendlier.
But you were something, once;
there are pictures to prove it,
maybe only remembered, but
clear and vivid as on that day. 
Icons, too, with dimmer glimmer, 
cloaked in patina of dust and time, 
still salute the forgotten hero 
with arm at length and racquet or ball.
And you were something, once, 
when everyone called you friend 
or, at least, everyone called you. 
More noble, perhaps? Alive? 
Or brave, at least? Or wise? 
Yes, you remember clearly, 
it was all of those, and more!
You were something, then -- 
more everything, than now, 
it would appear. After all, 
the groupies are all gone, 
the sycophants, fawners, 
acolytes and accolades. 
The ceremonies are no more 
climbing pedestal steps for lion eyes.
Occasions of praise 
are faded in the mist, 
suggesting by present absence 
unworthiness of praise ...

2

Sweaters have no letters, now ... 
The once proud laurel a tattered tiara, 
once worth its weight 
in the metal it would emulate 
but less than slag, now 
and foolish gold, 
begging company long denied.
The dreams were closer, then, to hope, 
and felt only as far away 
as a mountain peak, 
distant but accessible.
Now, that mountain's on another world 
and cannot even be imagined.
Once easy steps in joy and flair 
on feathered slipper feet 
are now the measured, plodding pace 
of worker's heavy boot.
The rainbow seemed attainable
for everyone promised it could be 
and even you believed it, 
adding your own promise to the chorus.
You were something, then, 
laughing carefree on the carousel 
in blinding flashing colored lights 
and crazy calliope, lost in 
circus crowd and fantasy, 
sleight of hand and mouth ... 
living in the decade of deception, 
when easy promise was the 
bastard child of 
careless thought and groundless base.
You were something, then, 
when royalty was make-believe 
and victory, pyrrhic ... 
and honor acclaimed by a 
paste-on gold star... 
and loyalty capricious... 
and appearance illusory 
and dignity feigned ... 
and promise a worthless chit 
in all but that early arena.

3

It was a wonderful stage, in its time, 
filled with many similar somethings, 
and everyone took a bow 
for the best of performances. 
The figments of that early greatness 
are difficult to disimagine ... 
the memory stubborn to extinguish 
those still-glowing embers of 
past appreciation or acclaim.
It was then, we remember --
we were loved. But we forget --
that was not the end, 
though vibrant and conclusive. 
That was not the measure of 
future potential. It was simply 
the last page of our Little Golden Book.
We've graduated since then, 
put away the little book 
and the little mind that lived it,
put away the masks we needed then,
for we were too afraid to be ourself
or maybe didn't know that person well.
We were something, then ... 
something less. And we know that 
whatever appreciation we now receive, 
or offer, is truly meant and deserved ...
Whatever accomplishment, 
truly worth its pride or praise ... 
and our own value, stripped of 
once foolish veneer and insincerity, 
is a tangible testament to the 
beautiful butterfly, 
free, at last, to fly.

- Jonothan

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