It Is My Nature

It is my nature to be as hard on myself
as I am on others, as roughshod as my
callousness will allow; and my callousness
will allow copious roughshod judgment
before it softens around the edges and
attempts a too-little and too-late half
apology that’s never enough but appreciated
nonetheless by its intended target.

It is my nature to be as unforgiving
of myself as I am of others, as capable
of animus against my own misdeeds as my
memory will allow; and my memory will
allow quite the grudge before it fades into
forgetfulness as to what the malice was
about and why it lingered so long beyond
its perceived utility in wounded rancor.

It is my nature to be as sensitive to self-inflicted
pain as I am insensitive to the pain I inflict
on others; and I can be wildly insensitive while
feeling the acute sharpness of intended and
unintended jabs by needles that pierce my
thin skin the way a hot knife cuts through
soft butter on its way to soothing the hard
surface of toast with a tender salve.

It is my nature to be as much the man I
never was as the man I wish I were, as
ephemeral as the fleeting dream and as
enduring as broken promises and fatal mistakes;
and I can dream with seething passion, knowing
in my heart that dreams do not matter and don’t
come true, while mistakes clamp like vices around
missed opportunities and unfulfilled covenants.

It is my nature to be an optimist for all the wrong
reasons and a pessimist for all the rights ones; and
my reasons and rationale seek out compelling arguments
in support of their fragile foundations, looking not so
much for certainty as for salvation, not so much for
reclamation of wasted efforts as for rescue from
judgment, forgiveness for a lack of mercy, and
hope for a world that never was and could never be.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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