! Old Age Remembered

I never thought it would happen to me…
so, I wouldn’t have been reading this poem…

but now it seems it has. And now
I’m writing it. Or trying to. Big mistake?

So do I have
anything worth passing on?

You know, the Polonius Balonyus stuff:
If I were your age, boy,

this is what I’d be and do, yawn zzzz….
Let’s think instead, of some more lively head

in Sunday supplement style –
‘Old Age – Tragedy or Comedy? ’

It’s just so personal, and the only one
to really weigh it up is you. Or me.

I’m wiser, happier (on the happy days)
than ever in my life; but then, who cares?

Well, maybe one or two. On the other hand,
there are few illusions left;

would one have been glad
to have no illusions, at, say, twenty years of age?

Or, to be almost beyond pain, or pleasure,
or attachments of any sort -

this in some young man
taking his vows as monk,

would be a solemn commitment for a lifetime; but
when you’re old – easier or harder then to bear?

then, short-term memory shorter, long-term memory longer -
that's wonderful - provided you have no regrets...

the memories come flooding back
of just how happy, happy childhood is...

barely remembered now, how adolescence
is the most painful time of life...

To cut a long life-story short –
the comedy’s more comic; the tragedy’s more tragic.

So I wonder how Shakespeare, having studied both
and then thrown his books away,

living a comfortable (or was it?) Stratford retirement -
a spot of bowls, a friendly pub,

grandchildren, his or of his relatives,
to keep him young or tire him out or both -

I wonder what passed through his worldspanned mind
as he passed passing time? As his time passed?

by Michael Shepherd

Comments (14)

This poem was put to music by one of America's greatest 20 th century song writers, Phil Ochs.
........fabulous write...in the 1800's, the use of bells was more common than today ★
Favorite Word of All Time: Tintinnabulation
Ah, one of my favourites. Poe had such an ear for rhythm, everything in this poem flows so easily with a beat and chime madder than the bells themselves. Beautiful.
@Jon P, Boring? Really? ! ? You do know that his repetition of the word bells is representative of the telling of the bells themselves, right? It's not meant to be read in time. It's supposed to be arhythmic. As cadencial as Poe tends to be, we often assume that everything will be cadencial. Try reading it again this time reading the repeated bells section slowly and out of time.
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