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I have been young,
                a fresh faced sprout,
with agile legs, a muscled arm and smile
to charm the world I went through
         in a rush to get a little older, sooner.

Catching my reflection while passing past
                         a looking glass not long ago
I discovered I was older, even old. There was
no sudden melancholy or regret, and yet
some sadness in the wonder that it happened
                                   while I wasn’t watching,
No pause to proudly ply the autumn into winter
Nothing changed.
I run as fast. I think a little faster and yet forget
at times what I went after there as I left here to
get it. This while crossing half a room
                                             not half a lifetime.

So I’ve been young and I’ve been old and have
           determined old is better.

Youth unfolds like coy Cleopatra from a rug
spilling all its golden wonders at the foot of age
who seems to envy everything, especially spring.
                                                          The young
pledge anything to get an audience. Delivering
sometimes, most times not, on their way before
                           the promissory note comes due.
Can you blame them as they hurry off, afraid
another runner may beat them to The Score ahead
                                leaving nothing to be scored?

Age is oft times bitter, feeling in its failing health
that wealth of life eluded it. Apologize somebody or
some thing for leaving me to find the way I never
found or could not find because it was not there
                                                           or never was.

But having seen the surge of youth, the sag of age
in breast and chest and everything, I still say spring
                                         is overrated. Age is better.
Less is expected of the once firm chest that drags
a little lower, the robust voice reduced to murmur
                                                          speaking slower.

Age can finally say aloud what it really feels and
                        thinks in after dinner company or crowd.
                                No one blinks. If they do, no matter.
Age erases pretence; replacing it with honesty.

Age is proof you got from there to here.
                                        Alas so many that you loved
did not complete the journey. You mourn them, yes,
and always will, but age is such a triumph over youth,
again, because you moved across the years to here.
Leaving there where it belongs
                        for youth to come along and re-discover.        
Copyright 1999 by Rod McKuen & Stanyan Music Group. All rights
reserved and no part may be reproduced in any form without written
permission of owners.
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