Adolescence

There was a time when in late afternoon
The four-o'clocks would fold up at day's close
Pink-white in prayer, and 'neath the floating moon
I lay with them in calm and sweet repose.

And in the open spaces I could sleep,
Half-naked to the shining worlds above;
Peace came with sleep and sleep was long and deep,
Gained without effort, sweet like early love.

But now no balm--nor drug nor weed nor wine--
Can bring true rest to cool my body's fever,
Nor sweeten in my mouth the acid brine,
That salts my choicest drink and will forever.

by Claude McKay

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