Life Is…

“I grew up in a whorehouse; you understand things differently; life is sex.”

“My father was a small-town mayor; there were business dealings, road building,
who did what work, who owed who a favour,
everything had undocumented arrangements. Life is deals.”

“My father was a church minister; visitors cried, people lied,
were immoral, shifty-eyed, people died,
were buried in heavy wet earth.
Life is uncertain except for its end.”

And I, I grew up in a tourist economy
where life is a vacation for people who come and go,
where life is work to make vacationers happy,
where the vacationers make people happy,
where work and vacation, and work and happy
are all mixed together, and people come and go,
and the tourist season comes and goes.
And tourists are ‘singers’, cicadas,
living their lives underground,
emerging after a year into sudden loud flight,
a brief fling, and the hope of a fling.
Tourists: back underground till next year.
And when there are no tourists there is no work
and money comes and goes
and people come and go with the work, with the tourists.
And people are seasonal, and work is happiness,
and everyone and everything
comes and goes. Life is travel and happiness,
or happiness without travel.
And with or without either money or work,
life is, basically, happiness.

Robin Helweg-Larsen

If you have any thoughts about this poem, Robin Helweg-Larsen  would be pleased to hear them