Hotshot on the stage of becoming,
Ploughboy turning fields of plenty –
What’s happened has been cold and numbing
Since I was rosy one-and-twenty.

I turned my face in the direction
Of extensive, mind-broadening travel
And journeyed with a true affection
Until the road began to unravel.

I ended up in knots and tangles
In a disco bar called Midnight Glory,
Where the sword of Damocles still dangles,
But that’s another hard-luck story.

I started putting pen to paper
And hoped thereby to make a living.
My pen could well have been a scraper,
Since paper’s hard and unforgiving.

I tried to stand a social ladder
Against a wall of gleaming water.
Each rung consisted of an adder,
The rails a woodsman’s son and daughter.

And, all the while, I lined the pockets
Of any who’d give me employment.
But, though my arms ripped from their sockets,
That didn’t lessen my enjoyment.

It was with a sense of the gravest duty
I strove and strained and swore and sweated.
But, for all my faded inner beauty,
There wasn’t a day that I regretted.

Of course I ended up in downing
Gulp after gulp of sheer frustration,
But I was much too busy drowning
To notice therein lay salvation.

It’s easy to believe the other,
But I am not my woeful story,
Much less the ugly-duckling brother
Of that Simple Simon Jack a Nory.

I’m undisputed, cask-strength being;
The path I’m on is only taken
By the seldom ones who are all-seeing,
Whose light’s foundations are not shaken.

So now the time has come to bury
The past in folds of dreamless slumber.
Make like the saints – be holy, merry –
And then go marching in that number.

Photo by Linus Sandvide on Unsplash

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