• Poem: Age Can Inculcate the Ordered Loveliness of the Routine


    Silent on a Peak in Darien

    As we look over the horizon, as did Cortez after a hard journey, what do we see? Do we recall the past voyage and feel the safety of having arrived, so wish not to lose that welcome site?  Or are we still searching, open to still growing, with the attendant risks?  Increasing age can bring the ordered loveliness and pleasant comfort of the routine.  Increasing age can kill the disordered exuberance and spontaneous wonder of youth.

     Aging

    Apollo, every morning, bursts above

    The Eastern rim to drive his stallions fast

    Across the empty sky, then disappear

    Below the Western border dark with fear.

     

    Youth

    Dionysus, when he chooses, looses

    “Mind-forged manacles” that bind him fast,

    Delights in beauty, joy and laughter, all

    Aquiver at the wonder of life’s call.

     

    M----, every morning, heats ½ cup water, ½ cup milk, adds ½ cup porridge oats, steeps her earl Grey tea, puts the butter and the jars of honey and Seville marmalade and a bowl of fresh bananas and apples  on the preset table, slices her home-baked bread,  carefully scrapes the heated porridge into a white Coalport bowl, and stirs in a teaspoon of honey; when the bowl is empty she puts a slice of bread into the toaster, rinses the bowl and puts it in the dishwasher,  transfers the toast to a silver slotted toast holder which is put on the table, then pours a few tablespoons of milk into her flower-decorated, pre-heated teacup, adds the steeped tea, lifts the toast out of the toast-holder, slices it into two pieces on a blue and white Coalport saucer, butters both, marmalade on one and honey on the other, and relaxes into the joy of a proper breakfast.

    Ah, but that rake, Dionysus, slips himself down at the same table, elegantly pours himself a crystal flagon of blood-red wine, extols the butter and marmalade he slathers on the toast he purloins, exults in placing a kiss on the nape of M----‘s neck, and dances into the garden, reveling in the sun-evoked fragrances of the opening lilies.

     

    Can we enjoy our tea with clotted cream

    Yet also dance away the day, and dream?

    Can we be tied to living rightly tightly

    Yet be caressed by Aphrodite nightly?