The Foolish and the Wise
by J. Caleb Jones, all rights reserved
A man was despondent and down on his luck—
He long had been hopeless and stupid and stuck.
A neighborhood pub was his frequent abode,
But this rainy evening, he somberly strode
In the sorrow that comes when you see you’re a fool.
He sat at the end of the bar on a stool.
He ordered his drinks. He wept over beers.
Drops fell in his mug. He drank up the tears.
He ordered cheap vodka with soda and lime.
He sat with it, sipping it, passing the time.
Next, he moved on to some tonic and gin.
He gagged once or twice, but swallowed again.
He ordered tequila. He swallowed the shot.
All that came afterward, he soon forgot.
He woke from a dream on the floor by a toilet.
He found himself filthy and prostrate before it.
His ears began ringing. His eyes winced in pain.
This bedroom – a restroom – he could not explain.
But then, he tasted a liquid he spat.
He felt the foul puddle in which he now sat.
As soon as the stench of the vomit he smelt
Was known by his nose, he knew where he dwelt.
He lifted his eyes to a ceiling of plaster,
And cried to the Heavens: “My life’s a disaster!”
“My body is weary. My spirit is spent.”
“Whatever I’m doing, please let me repent.”
In the sink, he then washed all the clothes he had on,
And soaking, he left, walking home before dawn.
The moment he left, a man miles away
Woke up before dawn and went on his way.
His suit had been tailored; his shoes had been shined;
His assets were daily assessed in his mind.
The clouds that had showered their rain through the night
Had scattered away from the coming Sun’s light.
The whiffs that remained in the heavenly height
Painted and played with the rays of sunlight:
Clouds of gold upon reds, blues, and purples–
Prancing and dancing in heavenly circles.
Fading soft starlight above did its best
To add to the beauty. The Sun did the rest.
Venus, that Phosphorus brightly displayed,
Was last of the stars to gracefully fade.
Regardless, the man in his car on the earth
Ignored the display, and gave it no worth.
But high in the sky at the morning dawn’s rim,
A long comet’s tail briefly shined over him.
Gently it gleamed, then faded to blue.
The man did not see it. He had things to do.
No trouble he felt in his morning commute.
He felt quite content in his blue tailored suit.
He silently sat in his seat by himself,
And drove to his office to add to his wealth.
The birds of the air threw their songs to the skies,
Commending their maker who made the Sun rise.
But silent in traffic the driving man stayed.
A pair of his sunglasses gave him some shade.
Who are the foolish? Who are the wise?
Where goes the knowledge that comes to their eyes?
Where are the deaf? Where are the dumb?
Who behold beauty but find themselves numb?
Who are the hopeless? Who are content?
Who should be thankful? Who should lament?
What do the wise learn from toilets and vomit?
What is the omen that comes with a comet?
Blessed are the poor that mourn and thirst.
Blessed are the last, for the last shall be first.
They shall be comforted. They shall be filled.
The rain from the Heavens upon them is spilled.
Woe to the rich with their wealth on their mind.
Woe to the well-traveled road of the blind.
Their eyes do not see! Their ears do not hear!
Eternal and beautiful Heavens are near!
The Heavens rejoice after one fool’s contrition,
But wide and well-paved is the road to perdition.
You know the foolish. You know the wise.
Look to the heavens, and open your eyes!
2 Comments Add yours
Great poem, I can personally identify with its sentiments. Not all have to take this route thankfully; a long time is often necessary to unlearn bad thoughts and behaviors.