Most Deeds Are Small

by Eric Chaet

Most deeds are small
& no account is taken of them —
words & gestures — toward & in response to
neighbors, strangers, family members
to the demands of
tyrants, their vassals, their serfs
to those stronger than you or weaker than you
while you are at peace with yourself
or in turmoil, maybe sick, frightened —
how you spend the decades of your life
tho you don’t have what you want
& don’t like what you must be doing —

daily maintenance or occasional neglect
or organization or preparation
or taking a moment to reflect on
what you previously feared to face
or to appreciate a beautiful
or savage aspect of nature —
an unexpected gentle touch, maybe
or you taking more than your share
or someone taking their share & yours, too.

I didn’t always know this —
I’ve neglected to master & practice common skills —
gardening, cooking, cleaning
getting money
carpentry, plumbing, mechanics
how to stay warm
how to nurse someone thru throes
that might otherwise prove fatal
how to deal with irritable or arrogant egotists
whether bureaucrats or individualists
who imagine they have earned your submission
how to deal with pathogens & knaves —

too impressed by the publicity of the prominent —
what they do, their great accomplishments
& what they claim to have done —
but it never occurred, or was someone else’s doing —
these are deeds, too, with disproportionate influence —

but most deeds, by most people —
conventional, panicked, brave, deliberate, foolish, wise
& by all the other species, too —
no account is taken of them —

but they are the grains of soil
& the moisture & bubbles of air clinging to them
from which every crop grows —

whether humanity continues on its crazy, self-destructive way
or becomes successful —
I don’t mean just that someone makes a heap of money
or one group forces another to submit to its will —

whether someone will truly fulfill him or herself
or only cause others to believe
that he or she has fulfilled him or herself
tho he or she is really an empty shell —

or whether he or she will struggle with suffering
or manage to pretend there’s no pain or fear
no regrets, no realization
that some aspiration was infantile
or, however righteous, was never realized —
til the moment of dying —
misunderstanding, misunderstood —

most deeds are small, & no account is taken of them.



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