A map of blunders
It’s hard to remember that I have blundered through my life
leaving a wake of destruction spreading out behind me.
Nothing too gross, you understand,
nothing the police would be interested in.
And of course I prefer to dwell on the times
when I have tried to bring more harmony into the world,
and sometimes succeeded.
Still, if I’m going to look back a little,
it’s good to be dispassionate about it:
a map is of limited use for navigation
if we simply exclude the features we don’t like.
Here’s a common experience I’d rather excise:
the innocent friend at school we all took against.
We left special signs about him chalked up on walls;
we enjoyed our cleverness; but he suffered.
There’s something a little exhilarating
about the power to create suffering.
On my map, I would have to include too many occasions
where I have taken the special energy of friendship
and tarnished, damaged, or destroyed it.
And I would have to add in also
the continual drip of judgements and irritated thoughts,
translating sometimes into looks or remarks,
influencing others against each other,
spreading out, spreading out:
the contours on the map.
Where is my route through this tangled territory?
to those who have faced me with my errors,
to those who have cut me some slack,
to those who have shown me their suffering,
to those who have forgiven me, and those who have cut me off,
to those who have cleared up after me,
and patched up fractured relationships in my wake,
to those who have responded to my blunderings with skilfulness:
to those who have suffered:
I am sorry.