I see the slowing down
cat’s crawl, worm-fired, worn-tired
standing firm against
rocks of ages,
bearing his burden in calm,
of the laws of time, motion, space,
and sci-fi fantasies of stop-time reversals
Will I be left to gather dust
amid the ruins of others
aging past their time to let go,
hanging on in suspended animation.
Mortal coil, spring back to youth
and let me watch you be free
of every earth-bound infirmity
which the dying (that’s us)
fight off on the final stretch of life
seeking mortality’s end and maybe glory,
on a road with no final destination
that we can comprehend,
let alone see.
Here in summer’s hot and cool shade
taking refuge from lazy indifference
to final questions,
you may find me sitting on this bench
an observer of life
who can’t be swayed by emotion
except when you strike a certain pose
or look a certain way
and see me briefly, and then perhaps,
you know who I am from somewhere
or at least you wonder
and do not pass by
with indifference and unknowing
in that stream of humanity
that is you.
I cannot bear sometimes
(I say that for dramatic effect)
to see your lined, old face,
character driven as it is,
clear eyes seeking a way out,
not known at present to you or I.
I hear you broke your ankle
and you are convalescing
and there is physical therapy,
for you are old and can’t bounce back.
You can’t pound the pavement
and enjoy life as you did just two weeks ago.
I hope you are restored soon,
for I see in your face, and hear in your voice
a young man turned into middle and then old age,
all at once.
And now, as in a sad dream,
you wonder perhaps if it’s all real.
And then I watched that boy
who could not stop dancing and moving,
feeling the tension and energy bursting
to get out of his slight but agile body,>
quivering with life,
insistent, intense, knowing joy
in the pure physicality of arms, legs and feet,
tapping into the stream of life,
the fierce beauty of movement
that cries out to the world
and shouts and sings
in pure, uncontrollable happiness.
I was in awe.
I felt it very deeply.
This is what the young have, and we want:
energy and clear-eyed vitality,
awareness that everything is there
to know and experience
if you want it.
And we who are older
can at last see that time is not decay,
and life is not of time,
but of the present.
Then at last a secret truth:
we do not need to escape from time at all.
It leaves us the very moment
we are conscious of that fact.