Thursday, July 27, 2017

I am old now...

© Steve King 2017
All rights reserved

I am old now, often older than I seem,
with new strangeness and a certain sense
that springs not only from unfolding years.
But this is all of my own view,
some inner seeing that reflects
no proper light from anywhere,
nor even any scene
that some other might see true.

The mirror in the hall holds far out of my sight;
the window too, where in a lapse of careless ease,
I might again behold the sudden ghost,
more true to every age, anchored in the pane,
clinging on a slender veil of inconstant opacity,
its form playing a noiseless rhythm,
searching yet for convenient repose
and any field of uncontested peace.

I piece together puzzles made of clouds
that shudder, fly upon the least of winds;
stir worlds within the orb of the unblinking cocktail glass,
and watch as visions stream, each along its way;
savor every expectation,
and the pull of all intentions,
that the lingering claim of conscience
shall not long outlast.

In the reach of bottomless light
the world seems empty of all things
except the deepened treads of time,
a universe enforcing balance
of all things I might have sought
and everything the heart tried to deny,
with point enough to serve tendentious retrospect,
and the pull of all latent desire,
even moment by moment;
for though no certain future is assigned,
I’ll take my leave to wager a good bet,
thinking every new-lived instant
gives a life to each impatient hope,
and fortifies all gentle conjurings.

Somewhere distant I recall
the portrait I alone was meant to see,
itself enough to capture any age.
And there it is:  somewhat a stranger now,
as any onetime friend might sometime be;
its lines still not so fully formed,
somewhat in haste conceived;
the eyes with what might pass for surety,
the naive brow an unmarked map
that cannot not be so now.
And though I must approve faint shades,
and take on faith that these have shown me fair,
I yet must note each errant stroke
and smile at untoward slips of shadow
that a keener artist would have striven to repair.

There roams in the dark tower,
like condemned kings and captive partisans,
a mix of ill contented thoughts,
contending for a single crack of light,
or a strain of gaiety singing far upon midnight,
almost unknowing now the graces of such leisure,
but still not quite reduced
to settling for the moments that incline
to the inviting void,
which alone must mitigate all cares.

I wonder at all things unsaid,
and of comforts yet unmet,
and of late strangnesses
that reasoned contemplation cannot cure.
Unsettled loves are gathered in a distant dream,
removed from every heart,
a far mirage that fades on every dawn,
posing as the last sum of desire.

Now must I cease these wanderings.
Each glimpse unfolds, that others might ensue,
and every view will further lead
until the thread I clutch unwinds in whole,
that my next thought would drift on its own airs,
so soon to slip from every moor,
without the charms of once familiar light,
to dance with dreams that dress a darker night.

 A new poem for the dVerse open night link