The Four Ages 4 – Earth Time
[Last poem of The Four Ages suite, on old age (earth, winter). Photo a simulation of filaments of galaxies and voids.]
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
– Walt Whitman, ‘Song of Myself’
Things are starting to sag.
I forget things that don’t matter –
pin numbers, names, manners.
The body hardens, loosens, begins to creak.
There’s clay in the stomach
and below is getting fishier.
It’s all starting to slide south.
I like small children
unless they’re neurotic.
I notice now the soothing power
around plants and trees,
the constant communication of cats.
I read the souls in people’s faces
like subtle palimpsests in old books.
Their bodies tell me sad stories.
I dislike mirrors, convoluted conversations.
Sometimes young ones come
to escape the adults and steal
puzzled glances at my eyes
burning out from crocodile flesh.
I know less and less.
There’s a frost on the soil
drawing down star force
into sleeping seeds. Sometimes,
there’s grace, and suddenly
a beautiful silence shimmers
like clear water
in which simple things breathe
and sway like seaweed
answering to some deeper current.
The glasses slide down the nose.
The spoon slips back into the soup.
Growing deafer, I’m now, at times,
surprised to hear, faintly,
the Source keening me home –
cold wires in the wind.
It is my last chance.