When I was still a boy, I read
and thought and read yet more.
I gathered in what elders said,
as if their words were gold.
And in the place where I was born,
a city full of life,
I saw the misery and joy
and pondered on them both.
And though I then said little and
perhaps because of this,
it seemed I’d found a wisdom that
escaped my cousins, friends
and others that I met at school,
for they were girls and boys
and so were moved by blowing winds
and childhood’s joys and woes.
But then I grew to be a man
but in my mind regressed –
and went through what my friends and kin
had done in growing years.
And now I’m in my sixties and
I’m left with foolishness.
My stocks of wisdom are dissolved
by time and all it bears.
And even at the job I do,
my expertise has waned,
if ever it was there at all,
when sanity prevailed.
And strange it is, but those who’re new,
with but a year or two
of teaching, teach their elders now
and tell them what to do.
It’s said that wisdom grows with age,
so when we've done our years,
our inexperience is replaced
by what we've bought with tears.
But is it true? I do not know
but only offer this –
if that were always so, then each
might pass away in bliss.
2015 February 19th Thu at the Sloan Kettering center and on the train back from Manhattan