Now

Now I see it: a few years To play
around while being Bossed around
By the taller ones, the ones With
the money And more muscle,
however Tender or indifferent
They might be at being Parents;
then off to school And the years
of struggle With authority while learning
Violent gobs of things one didn't Want to know,
with a few tender And tough teachers
thrown in Who taught what one wanted
And needed to know; then time To go out
and make one's own Money
(on the day or in The night-shift),
playing around A little longer
('Seed-time,' 'Salad days') with some
Young 'discretionary income'
Before procreation (which Brings one quickly,
too quickly, Into play with some variation
Of settling down): then, Most often for most,
the despised Job (though some work their way
Around this with work of real Delight, life's work,
with the deepest Pleasures of mastery):
then years Spent, forgotten, in the middle
decades Of repair, creation, money Gathered
and spent making the family Happen,
as one's own children busily Work their
way into and through The cycle themselves,
Comic and tragic to see, with some Fine moments
playing with them; Then,
through no inherent virtue Of one's own,
but only because The oldest ones are busy
falling Off the edge of the planet,
The years of governing, Of being
the dreaded authority One's self;
then the recognition (Often requiring a stiff drink)
that it Will all soon be ending for one's self,
But not before Alzheimer's comes For some,
as Alzheimer's comes For my father-in-law
now (who Has forgotten not only
who Shakespeare is but that he taught
Shakespeare for thirty years,
And who sings and dances amidst The forgotten
in the place To which he's been taken):
then An ever-deepening sense of time
And how the end might really happen,
To really submit, bend, and go
(Raging against that night is really
An adolescent's idiot game).
Time soon to take my place In the long line
of my ancestors (Whose names I mostly never
knew Or have recently forgotten)
Who took their place, spirit poised In mature
humility (or as jackasses Braying against the inevitable)
Before me, having been moved By time through time,
having done The time and their times.
'Nearer my god to thee' I sing On the deck
of my personal Titanic, An agnostic vessel in the mind.
Born alone, die alone—and sad,
though Vastly accompanied,
to see The sadness in the loved ones To be
left behind, and one more Moment of wondering what,
If anything, comes next. . . Never to have been completely
Certain what I was doing Alive,
but having stayed aloft Amidst an almost sinister doubt.
I say to my children Don't be afraid,
be buoyed —In its void the world is always Falling apart,
entropy its law —I tell them those
who build And master are the ones invariably Merry:
Give and take quarter, Create good meals within the slaughter,
A place for repose and laughter In the consoling beds of being tender,
I tell them now, my son, my daughter.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Gajanan Mishra 24 February 2014

good writing, I like it, thanks.

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