Seems the spirit ever mends,
though the light behind it bleeds.
Poor lamp am I…how strange
that the mind should sharpen
while the maggot feeds.
Each day the world grows older,
yet her face remains fair, her view serene.
I’ve seen the way she milks her young,
and watched her fields rush green.
But only as the sight grows weak
can at last these old eyes see
what waits the clear, unbroken pools
in wide eyes peeking back at me.
You children play, and don’t mind me.
The sun lies full where I drift, content.
If I seem to be brooding
on happiness spent,
then forgive me; I’m grateful
to not have to brood on sorrow.
So you children play. Can it truly be!
Did time once bend, could hurts once heal—
it seems so long…seems scarcely real
that I was a creature of yesterday
who could not see past the morrow.
And where is that child now?
Is he dead, was he dreamt, is he lost for good,
or is he only sleeping?
He would run, he would leap, he would laugh if he could.
He has savored his life, has drunk it to the full.
Why then is he weeping?
No, you children play, and don’t mind me.
Embrace this splendid, fleeting day
naively. Look away.
Drink from the cup while the taste is sweet,
and bask in the light of your youth.
Ah, what is youth but a longing for age,
and age but a longing for youth.
Watch the blue dream resuming,
feel the moth in the fist,
taste that warm promise tendered
in a child’s first kiss,
grown cold in the arms of the hunter,
matured, developed to—
No, you children play, you children play.
The leech has yet to find you;
let your blood sing while it may.
The rabid angel’s eyes are bright,
her loving voice is lying.
Her bosom heaves, but the heart is cold.
Season to season, her black shadow clings.
Lamb after lamb, how pleasantly she stings.
All our lives we look to things. I tell you, by my eyes,
there are things behind things—stirring bashful children,
spiteful children; the angel drives her docile prey,
herding awkward children, skipping children,
skipping their childhood away.
No act of man, no higher hand,
no will can hold the years at bay.
Alone, I watch them, day by day,
growing, slowing in their play.