Author’s note: I wrote this poem for a friend who recently turned 70.
Because I have been there and gone beyond,
I know the catch of thought that can dismay,
The quirk of clock that seventy years have dawned,
That I have somehow gotten to this day.
The calendar is wrong, it must be false
To tell me that the years that lie ahead
Are fewer than the ones that I have lost,
The path before so short that I will tread.
The path, it must be said, is less my care:
The aching limbs, the waning of my might,
The gnarled hands a witness to their wear,
These not the fears I ponder in the night.
Fra Lippo Lippi said it well, no doubt:
To keep, please God, my mind, to lend it out.
“God uses us to help each other so,
Lending our minds out.”
— Robert Browning, “Fra Lippo Lippi” (1855)