Monday, September 14, 2009

The Curse of Wealth?

The Curse of Wealth?

Hear the penniless man howl
when you tell him wealth's a curse.
"Then curse me," he'll say, and
there's no argument good enough
to silence his derision. Still,

there was that rich man--he
just died--who seemed to drag
an invisible bag behind him,
full of capital, a father's
ambitions for his sons, blunt
and sharp weapons of politics,
all of it weighing so much, too much.

There was a family compound, also
a family-machinery that melted laws.
Amidst it all, the man was cursed
with living long, knowing secrets
and sin, and staying married to
noblesse oblige. He's elsewhere

now. Maybe God will have treated
him as just another soul relieved
of life, as someone blessedly
obscure. The penniless man scoffs
at such notions of tragedy and
theology, as well he might. Still,

the rich and public man knew misery,
a special kind, a gilded curse.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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