Promises

Some people approach a promise as a contract, a bargain, a statement of responsibility
Some people give promises as an indication of intent, of hope, of a desire for an outcome
The words are often identical, sharing litte of their real meaning, hiding the lie as well as the truth
Any promise has the potential to become a lie, a faleshood, a broken thing
And the degree to which it is broken or kept contains a clue to its power
There is nothing so powerful as a broken promise to shape opinion and mould the mind
A thousand kept promises can be invalidated by just one and only one promise not kept.

I wonder sometimes about the people who promise easily, for I am one of these
When the feeling run high and the urge, the need, the obligation to promise fills the soul
I am so filled with the necessity to fulfill the need, to fill the gap or just to simply reasure
It is so much easier to say the words than recall the import of the action
To consider whether the result remains within the wrealm of possibility or achievement
And the more important it is to the other person, the more my heart yearns to offer it
Whcih is why my broken promises leave such gaping wounds in my relationships

At work, I have no problem at all in making reasonable, rational, achieveable and limited promises
To under promise and over produce seems as simple as opening the window to let in the breeze
But then, I don't have any stake in nor do I give a damn about the issues I am promising
Nothing bad will happen if I miss the deadline and no one will die if it does not work
And if it does happen to work out, I will have no special recognition or reward
At work it means as much to provide the appearance of performance as to actually perform
No one cares and nothing falls apart in tearful ruins and remonstrations of secret spite.

Do I dare to restrain my better impulses, to resist the temptation to fill the void with promises?
It is a fault of which I am seriously guilty, but with the best, most noble of intents
Not that this means a damn thing, not that the intent of the thing is any real defense
Well, maybe the first time, possibly the second, but the four-hundred-sixteenth, no, not at all
These are then just lies, given for effect, at a time of great vulnerability and terror
To not be the answer, to be irrelevant to the desired result, to be in fact pointless
What does that leave me being for anyway, if I cannot promise and in fact deliver the moon.

Silence is golden then and my friend and partner when in doubt, when brought to promise
I shall endeavor to keep still, to hold my tongue and not raise the expectation of success
For I will fail, I know I will, and I will take you down that long hard road again and again
I shall sit silent upon my hands, or else carefully folded in my lap, keeping silently unreassuring
It will be hard and long and difficult to restrain my native gab and be like those whose words
Are given in token of achieveable goals and issues only, each to each, one by one
That will be a part of my journey then, to be still and loving and unpromising.

2011

creative commons