gershon hepner

It Is Not Now

It is not now as once it was
nor ever will it be again;
we don’t believe in Santa Claus,
and throw away the madeleine.

When we were weak in judgment we
would clamor for the agonies
of love, but now no longer wish to be
afflicted by this strange disease.

Its features are so pitiless,
we swear we will no more succumb
to siren cries of its distress,
reborn, insensitive and numb.

Mankind won’t end if we opt out,
too old in apathy to love;
each day will see new suckers sprout,
mistaking ravens for a dove.

Inspired by Thomas Hardy’s “I Said to Love”:

I said to Love,
'It is not now as in old days
When men adored thee and thy ways
All else above;
Named thee the Boy, the Bright, the One
Who spread a heaven beneath the sun, '
I said to Love.

I said to him,
'We now know more of thee than then;
We were but weak in judgment when,
With hearts abrim,
We clamoured thee that thou would'st please
Inflict on us thine agonies, '
I said to him.

I said to Love,
'Thou art not young, thou art not fair,
No faery darts, no cherub air,
Nor swan, nor dove
Are thine; but features pitiless,
And iron daggers of distress, '
I said to Love.

'Depart then, Love! ...
- Man's race shall end, dost threaten thou?
The age to come the man of now
Know nothing of? -
We fear not such a threat from thee;
We are too old in apathy!
Mankind shall cease.-So let it be, '
I said to Love.

10/21/05

Poem Submitted: Friday, October 21, 2005

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