To a young person, on their 27th year

(A life in thirds, thresholding its second stage)

Sand and water, water and sand:
grain by grain, drop by drop the timer falls
and fills the scale, the balance of our lives,
the weight, by which we measure;

The clarity of beauty fades, its charity withdrawn
from skin so many cigarettes have slowly withered;
the tide of innocence recedes, exposing all
our compromise, bare and awkward, unadorned;

So the travelers lament: time misspent, time spent lamenting,
and bewail, beware, our implacable condition,
a one-way journey, its comfort realised in little things
that headstrong haste had cast aside, dispersed, ignored,
in wilful preconception, blind as folly, overwhelmed
by fierce precocious rush of days;

Our wholeness cleaved by dissonance
from disappointed expectation,
the springs of youth lie dry behind, left to dissipate,
we reach, we pass, a watershed of hope, if we still search….

…. search for bargains, in a market we can’t understand?
A marketplace of purity – uncertain – to barter dreams
for calculation, trade exuberance for knowledge,
and exchange our scarce and potent energy – for what? Experience?

Our lives crystallise beneath us, all around,
as possibility’s chimeras, taking shape, highlight
our finite paths, set in fine new iron discipline….
which we navigate, or else despair.

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