From the pages of history and the memories of survivors
Come tales of those who are not like us,
Those whose feet itch to carry their persons
Where none have gone before,
Whose hearts twitch with the passions to make
Missionaries for God, adrenalin, or conviction:
They are all the same, yet they are not,
These modern-day conquerors and explorers.
These unwitting disciples of Nietzsche
Reject what society and their mothers say they
Should not do. Except his mother said, Go for it, and
His father said, Why not? And don’t forget to write.
But he forgot.
Life without limits, he would say, and he went so far
As to emblazon it upon his belt, but not his skin.
No orgy of hedonism for him, instead he rejected the seduction
Of comfort, conformity and the trust fund.
Young enough in body to believe in immortality,
It enabled him to do great things;
Perhaps old enough in spirit
To know that flesh is inconsequential.
No adrenalin junkie, he. His challenge
He approached intellectually, intelligently, as a perfectionist,
Avoiding the multiple heels of pride, haste, distraction,
The difference as pronounced as between those who can’t smell
and those who won’t.
His heroes were as various and incongruent as
Muir, T. Roosevelt, Gandhi, and Christopher McCandless,
Yet they collectively represent his personal commitments
To peace, parks, and passion.
What is to become of the survivors? They must
Reject the humanist’s outrage at illness and death.
It accomplishes nothing to deny dying as part of life
And deny humanity as part of the Natural Order.
Who can answer the existential question of why he had to go?
Nobody’s saying and nobody knows.
Life without limits, he would say,
And he lived to say it until his dying day.
©Kevin Strohmeier 2010
In memory of Benjamin Edward Strohmeier – 1990 to 2008