The Pursuit

How much stuff must one accumulate
in pursuit of fulfilment
before the quest leads to emptiness;
before one understands
that happiness is not a destination but a journey.

How many hours must one race with the clocks, hit the pavement,
and postpone promises before one recognises
that tomorrow will always stay a day ahead?

How long do you think tender moments will stick around to soothe you

when you matter less at the office, amongst erstwhile friends, in prized social circles,
and are subbed off the great pitch of life;  replaced by youthful experience?

How much family time would have been sacrificed,
soft playtime missed, laughter foregone, dinners cancelled,
birthday parties forfeited.
Which anniversaries might we have forgotten, movie nights cut short or holidays put off in the pursuit… for the bigger, more expensive car;
to tame the latest trends; 
compete with boastful neighbours and friends
instead of enjoying the love in your children’s eyes.

How many pairs of shoes still line the closet floor, looking up at branded clothes – new, but never worn; and how much money did we say was enough

before we started to treat and pamper ourselves. 

Remember when the house was too clean to host birthday parties;
when you feared doodles and wild scratches on the walls,
built-in stains nesting on the white sofas?
Well, today, only that intrusive silence fills the air,

and like loneliness, it lingers. 

No doubt, you long for those familiar unscripted sounds

to drown the monotone voices in your head,

but the children are now grown up.
They, too, are busy living lives like us. 

We taught them well.

There might be some money still in the bank for medical bills and nursing homes.
Loads of extra time, now, which you can’t use. 
Baskets of memories swinging in the wind, but the mind is too frail to recall them. 
Tomorrow became today, and today became tomorrow while you chased shadows.

The fancy car sits idle.   The phone hardly rings.
And you stand around staring deep into the face of life’s rear view mirrors,
hoping to retrieve moments lost.   But alas!  It’s far too late! 



5 thoughts on “The Pursuit”

  1. The enduring question: what is a life well lived … revisited and intriguingly explored.

    I suppose no individual will ever successfully balance out the contours of this ultimate challenge of life. The vastness of time coupled with mismatched opportunities across the board makes impossible for anyone to get the balance spot on in each season of life … 😩

  2. Reminds me of the following passage in Shakespeare’s MacBeth:
    “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing”

    But an absolutely terrifying prospect is that we came and went without a trace of ever being here…no legacy, nothing tangible to demonstrate lives well lived. Sure, our children will remember us, perhaps our grandchildren but beyond that life moves on and our feature on the stage fades into obscurity.

  3. Gosnell L Yorke (PhD)

    Thanks for the reminder (Qoheleth, the Preacher, as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures in the Book of Ecclesiastes, came to that conclusion millennia ago) that happiness and self-fulfilment can be as elusive as ever in a context where crass materialism and self-centred hedonism are prized as values to be chased and cherished. Query: What of those, particularly of African descent, for whom the majority–be it in the Global North or South such as here in an exploited Africa–is a daily struggle just to stay alive amidst prevailing conditions of poverty, pain and suffering, not entirely of their own making? Thanks again.

  4. I thoroughly enjoy your works and I share each verse with my own pics on my FB page..I envy your ability to so colourfully express your thoughts..awesome..just awesome

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