Poetry by David Kherdian: “The First Problem and the Last”

Poet and memoir writer David Kherdian is the author of numerous books about Armenian-Americans and working-class life in the Midwest. His most recent poetry collection is Blackbirds Over Aurora, an account of an Oregon community based on the mystical teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff. He has kindly allowed me to publish one of his newest poems below.

THE FIRST PROBLEM AND THE LAST

I would like to think we end
here to start over again there,
or else continue again from here
where we have landed,
naked, alone, to learn for ourself
what is expected of us here now.
Nothing bedevils me more
than not knowing what’s next.
Can it be that this futile life
is without a sequel,
could anything be worse then ending
without knowing what comes after.

What we want to know above all is:
If death is the answer to life,
what was the question we failed to ask
before it became too late, as it is now,
here / now, always the same conclusion
with nothing said about The After.
How do we approach the end
without knowing either the question
or the answer, and is it enough to say
at the end I lived Fully.

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