I awoke again this morning in a black mood. Then as dawn approached and I lay in bed thinking of my as yet unborn grandchildren this poem came to me and the dark passed.


For you are young and sweet
But I am old and doomed
I’m summoned to my sleep
Yet you have yet to bloom

I tremble as I walk
You’ve yet to take a step
I mutter as I talk
You babble joy instead

You’ve yet to know the dark
I search the night for light
To everything you hark
My memories I fight

Dawn she calls to you
Dusk she calls to me
To you it all seems true
I’ve been too long deceived

You laugh and coo and crawl
I’m stooped and bent and broke
I’m burdened with it all
You’re free of weight and yoke

You see just what is near
I’ve seen things from afar
My eyes drowned in my tears
Your sight is still unmarred

You hear the small birds sing
You wonder at their calls
I hear the echoed screams
I know what soon befalls

If I could by (buy) some wish
Shield you from what comes
Would that be damned foolish
Or work of High Wisdom?

I do not know my child
I never knew with me
The world was often wild
Most bloodily conceived

I will tell you this
For it is all I’ve known
Keep God deep in your heart
Do not this world alone

or, variantly:

(Do not this world bemoan)
(You’ll not this world atone)


This morning I had an experience that I thought might lead to my death. I still ache, a lot, which for me is saying something as I have a high tolerance for pain, but it is better. But for some time I could neither breathe nor speak. Luckily my wife was there to help me.

Whether I was really dying or not I cannot say. But it felt like it, the most I’ve felt like it in years and years and years. This wasn’t just pain, it was the bite of mortality. I am pretty sure now it is something mechanical, not organ-related, like a heart attack. Nevertheless it was tremendously painful. I had to take pain killers (that should show you something right there when it comes to me) and sleep. When I got up about 1:30 both my mortality and my youth were fresh on my mind.

So I wrote this.



When fresh we are and happily made
No misplaced hope may yet dismay
The whole bright world is but our star
The Other Side not very far

Our breath is sweet, our wonder wide
Our hapless faith our ceaseless pride
All scent is sharp, all sights are bright
The days are clear, full moons at night

No pain is long, all sounds are songs
Two rights for every minor wrong
Countless friends, the lands are vast
Adventures first and labors last

Death is but a whispered dream
Ghost tales are told but never seen
The grave is but some plot of earth
Freshly plowed to sprout new birth

When happily made and new in form
Our limbs are smooth, our face unworn
Our breath is deep, we run for joy
Our very lives our favorite toy

No Frontier is too great to cross
No day of travel ever lost
No place so old it is not new
No final shore to bid adieu

No man has ever proved his no
Anguish is a word unknown
No thought to ever count the cost
No markers dark engraved with loss

God still walks in every field
No sickness ever goes unhealed
No injury will linger hard
To cripple you with small regard

Your thirst is deep, you hunger much
You quickly calm with but a touch
Tomorrow is another day
To prove yourself in reckless play

Blood is but the sap of cuts
You laugh at it, ignored as such
You’ve never seen a man bled dry
You’ve never wept and never cried

When newly made and happ’ly all
You know not then what will befall
Though give it time my little friend
The world is ripe with brutal sins

It is not right, it is not just
In better things we all should trust
Yet mortal man’s a mortal thing
And with him comes the end he brings…