I am well past my 20s,
that golden time
when I only saw a little—and even that
with optimistic eyes.
I’m past the days of cheap
apartments with friends and wine and roaches,
lentils and rice for breakfast,
or leftover cold pizza.
I’m beyond learning of
war and death and pestilence.
The visitations of grief
have marked me, too.
Gone is the luxury of
happy, uninformed innocence,
the blind and smug assurance
that comes with youth.
Forgive me, though; I don’t mean to be morbid.
Or pretentious. It’s just that with time—
that great illusion, time…has anyone told you about that one, yet?—
come unintended consequences.
If you are young,
this won’t make sense.
And if it does not make sense,
then you’re too young, yet.
Don’t be in a hurry, though.
If you live long enough,
you’ll get older and vague like me,
and learn to cherish consequences.
We come out of childhood in hyper-drive,
in a bit of a panic, so used to being little,
when everyone’s bigger
and knows more.
Well, they are. And they do.
But, likewise, a man can never
quite understand the boy,
even when he has been the boy.
One day at a time is how it goes.
A lifetime is a ledger of accumulations.
And then one day you’ll be dead,
and it will all be scattered at the auction.
Seems such a tragic waste, doesn’t it?
Getting an education. A career.
A family. Achievements?
For what? To have a street named after you?
I have no idea.
I do sense part of the answer
has something to do with this:
Notice everything, even in hard times.
Especially in the hard times.
“In a time of sceptic moths and cynic rusts, And fattened lives that of their sweetness tire In a world of flying loves and fading lusts, It is something to be sure of a desire. Lo, blessed are our ears for they have heard; Yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen: Let the thunder break on man and beast and bird And the lightning.
OCTOBER 2016 / JULY 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
“Hemmingplay,” is the pen name of Doug Stanfield, who grew up on a family farm in western Ohio, went with his parents for two years in Karachi, Pakistan, in high school and had lived, until recently, in Bellefonte, PA with his late wife, Wilda and their two sons, Ben and John. Doug was a writer, editor and director of internet communications at Penn State for 26 years. He has had a few disreputable occupations, including newspaper reporter and editor, and public relations flak, but is trying to make amends for his sins by writing poetry and fiction. When his sons were safely off making their own mistakes, he turned on the computer one day, stared at the screen for what seemed a long time, and began to learn the craft anew at age 67. Doug has published three books so far: "Mermaid Sisters: First Dive", a children's book on iTunes/iBook; "I Came From A Place of Fireflies" published as a paperback and Kindle on Amazon, and a new book of poetry, "Snowflakes & Ashes: Meditations on the Temporary”, available as both an ebook and as a paperback. (Gatekeeper Press) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and a few others.)
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