...They pose, / then fall, purposefully, / yelping WOOO!, which translates / as A little fear is fun. / The pool looks / too shallow to hold them, / but they plunge in and resurface, / grimacing to show how cold the water is. ---From “Resemblance” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist, 8-16-11
How little of fear is fun? How much of fun is fear?
Intensities of either define staying on with courage,
Some grace under pressure, if there were no choice.
But there is. Yet, you probably screamed your pain
away by claiming you did not choose to be born
when struggle became a burden and living a chore.
Does your mother still cap birthdays with the story?
The one about how fearful she felt that giving birth
was not going to be fun, until she heard you yell
your tiny heart out, trembling for air, screaming
as early as then: This is not fun, you know. Being
pushed or pulled even before you got your bearings.
Would you have understood what in great blazes
everyone was happy for? Or was that a grimace on
Father’s face to counterpoint the smile on Mother’s?
Before long, we forget the fun that was earned
to vanquish the fear marked on all things mortal:
a day after birth, we start the art of dying. Living?
Why should it be delirious to be riotously happy?
How much of fear is fun? How much of fun is fear?
If there were no life hereafter, would you even ask?
---Albert B. Casuga