Jason Cline


I'Ve Been Twenty-Five - Poem by Jason Cline

I met a man in Cincy and he ladled me a bowl
as I sat down at the counter after coming from the cold.
The day was slow, we shared some thoughts, anecdotes were told
as I finished up my chili, sopping sauce up with my roll.
And he told me, 'Son, life's unfair, but give it all you've got.
Before you know, you're halfway home, giving up the lot.
My dreams are dead, I'm stranded here serving up this slop
so if there's passion in your life, then son, don't ever stop.'

I paid my meal, put on my coat, when at the door it hit me
I asked if there were any other words I could take with me
and how he got so wise
He said, 'I've been your age and I've been fifty;
you've been twenty-five.'

A few weeks later, on a train, New York underground
I took a seat across a woman straightening her gown.
The car was empty, save a couple several benches down.
I said hello and passed a smile when, suddenly she frowned.
She said, 'Son, life's unfair, but this one thing I know:
Don't betray your heart as I did mine, if you ever want to grow.
Keep a level head, your thoughts be clear, be always on your toes
You'll make it through this world just fine with the grindstone at your nose.'

My stop approached and I stood up, when at the door it hit me
I asked if there were any other words I could take with me
and how she got so wise
She said, 'I've been your age and I've been fifty;
you've been twenty-five.'

The other day I saw my father in a different light.
He didn't look as I remember, his skin was pale and dry.
He looked up from his paper, his smile thin and wry,
but I could tell he'd lived a life, that pained him every night.
He whispered, 'Son, life's a bitch, but live it if you dare.
Friends and foes are few and far, so treat them firm but fair.
You're life's your own so make the most, be noble and stand square
then you'll know what living is, to be more than just 'there.''

I checked my watch and smiled, when at the door it hit me
I asked if there were any other words he could share with me
and I sat by his side
I said, 'you've been my age, and you've been fifty;
I've been twenty-five.'


Poet's Notes about The Poem

November 27,2010

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 4, 2013



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