Friday, January 4, 2013

Wisdom the Risible

"At every age we think we're having the last laugh, and at every age we're wrong."

The seven ages of wrong
Wheel by complacently. First
(Or finally, the sequence
Can't matter, each stage being
Equivalent) come the wrongs
Of infirm dependency,
The sweet, toothless confidence

That enlightenment is now
Or never, the bracketing
Exceptions being the null
Years, the happy second stage
Of private serenity,
Public humiliations
From which we gather wisdom

That enables us to view
The foibles of our younger
Or our older selves with calm,
Droll mixtures of amusement
And chagrin, knowing we are
Not now what we were then, but
Later will be as we are.

The funhouse stages mirror
Each other as otherness,
The lover, young, long, drawn out
On racks of bitter regret,
Opposite the high justice,
Wrong to a prophetic pitch,
Satisfied by defining

The fine things the future holds,
The age of optimism
For captains of drowning ships.
Ages of hazards have dreams
Like the dreams of railroad tramps
Predicated upon luck
As a reprieve from ashes.

The soldier cocooned in all
The armor of other wrongs
Nobly serving to set,
Wriggles like a hermit's thought
Messy, obsessed with pattern,
Groggy, will not find the key
God gave poets to be won.

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