The Whole Self

 

My saucy youth derides my sober age,

Mocking, haunting, refusing to be stilled:

That which was me, and wholly me, can wage

A battle with the me not yet fulfilled.

My saucy youth, my careless youth,

Which thought it knew the whole of truth,

Still wants the stage.

 

My sober age rebukes my flippant youth,

Preaching, excusing, repenting of its fun:

That which is me, and wholly me, uncouth

And unripe self condemns and hopes to shun.

My sober age, my riper age,

Which thinks it knows a life more sage,

Still likes the sun.

 

But which is me?  The careless boy?  The man?

Not the same heart has beat through all these years;

Not the same brain now guides the acts as then;

Not the same flesh now feels and sees and hears;

Yet babyhood, and youthfulness,

And adulthood, and agefulness,

All these are me.

 

Weekly Times  6.10.61