THE MEASURE OF MY GAIT

But for my body’s vibrancy

Lost from age

I feel time better and better

A tree grows high and wide with time

I know heights, now

I never knew in youth

I understand the way things work better, now in my tranquil maturity

Better than in my excited youth

The world and I sync better

Than my fits to plug into a system I wasn’t fit to engage

In my early becoming adult

So many questions I faced unaware

When to argue

When to articulate a novel thought to stand out before my teachers

The battle to be self at school or workplace seeming enforcing conformity

That moment when my professor said I’d better start thinking about a

different profession

provoked by my Marxist critique of Wordsworth’s IDIOT BOY

I really don’t know why I don’t fight anymore

Or why I used to

Or why I was never happy no matter where I lived: Ohio, Boston, Charlottesville, Florida

And my contentment, indeed happiness, now in Edmonton

And of the things I no longer let bother me:

Other people disagreeing with me

Things I have to get done yesterday

Whether people like me

Traffic, specifically tailgaters

I haven’t time nor energy nor inclination to disturb

Me and my peace

The breadth of my awareness

Expanded and expands still from youth’s constrictions:

Knowing largely the way it was always done

At home, hometown, Sunday School

Plain, innocent, not knowing things

I remember questioning the merits of my professor’s USC degree, me knowing only

UCLA

Making judgments is facile these days

The young’s flash and intensity of passion

Have calmed, calming me, contenting my present

 

There was that time when it all lay in front of me

So much to master, to conquer

Most of it’s past now

The challenges I’ve conquered, arts mastered to such as one may

(Though mastery knows no terminus)

I’ve laid my foundation, a good one

Upon which I stand, build, have built, refine, expand

I burst the bonds that have constrained my heart

As my soul breathes free, breaks free

 

The future doesn’t beckon anymore

Though I leisurely progress in cognition, will, behavior, refinement

Sensibility, sensitivity, sentiment, solidarity

I read now as much as talk

And today, W. H. Auden moved my sensibility, sense, cognition towards where I wasn’t before

And today I’m closer to the time when I’ll die

I ponder whether I’ll die well,

As I study to live well

 

My measured gait is not due to decrepitude

 

I carry the weight of my awareness,

Thoughts, contentedness, purpose, perceptions

Measuring my stride through life

Enraptured looking back, down from olding heights

From the altitude afforded by maturing on constrained behaviors,

On who I was, what I was, how I did what I did

The mysterious ascending current flowing toward my future

In the present’s contented, open mentation

And I will die well

Aging

I am aging

But I don’t feel like it

I’m as full of life as I was at 20

But young people remind me of my age

When they have no interest in what I have to say

My body reminds me of my age

When it gets stiff, strains, twists, sprains

Days get better

I am happier, more content

Bothered by less

More pleasant

With age

Aging is a good thing

True, death is nearer

I don’t fear it

I’ve had a good run

Given life my best shot

I expect to be here a while yet

Aging is a good thing

Life is a good thing

Youth and Age and Aging

You’re given an inflexible format at birth

Strong flexible sinews of youth

Weaken, stiffen, strain

Youth’s enthusiasm yields to age’s patience

Headstrong demands yield to forbearance

Irritation to tolerance

Discontent to contentment

Willful drive to peace

Gratitude to happiness

Youth yields to maturity

Maturity to aging

 

Perpetual Spring

As I age, the world ages with me

As it always has

Things I treasure go out of style

Live music, blues, jazz, the symphony

Peace and love

Mozart went out of style

And nobody knows where he is buried

Who performed for princes, kings, queens

High art, technique, form fail

Churches dwindle, consolidate, close

Zoroaster, Moses, Jesus shrugged off

They follow Zeus, Apollo, Heracles

 

There is no perpetual spring

There follows summer, autumn, winter, and spring again

As I autumn, I can’t see spring again

No, I don’t see spring

I will be leaving this world

And I look toward another

And as my world dies, perhaps it is well that I also with it

I think less of my legacy than I do my potential

In my autumn I see perpetual springtime