Friday, August 3, 2007

Young man old man

As a young man,
He thought he’d killed an Austrian in a fight,
Pounded him to death with bearlike hands.
His father, helpless to his awful plight,
Packed him off to strange far-distant lands.
To Tunis and beyond he made his way.
With Nubian women three years he did dwell
Until his father wrote to him to say
“He lives, come home, the world is looking well.”

As an old man
‘Tis now disease, but then the loon was just
A mad old Swiss man, querulous and frail.
A strong mind crumbled into yellow dust
Behind those eyes expressionless and pale.
And though he knew not daughters nor his wife,
He spoke about those women dark and warm
Who cradled him for three years of his life
And drew their veils across the howling storm.

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