oh! what vocation, poetry
should leaves remain upon a tree?
and what tales would balladeers bring
if nightingales refused to sing?
no guilt nor guile with skill composed
these meagre rhymes or broken prose
for clarity should I impart
these words of mine are but my heart
we are the dust of days to come
so let us drink and love and laugh
to please the flesh before it’s gone
and let life itself be epitaph
make of the mundane, sacred prayers
to measure full the death of years
and quench your hopes in cups of wine
a toast, my friends, to better times.
what charges nature’s passions
the head itself can rule no heart
it can but desires fashion
’tis flesh unbound the will imparts
there is in dreams, extinguished in waking,
all of our immortal presence
for it is in sunshine and not the dark
that’s revealed our evanescence
oh! these forest songs are fair
yet they hold no melodies
their endless rhythms on the air
the muse the unseen autumn breeze
we hold no tenure on the earth
but are mere transients
just passing through
until we reach the next world
they pull the faithful to their prayer
in peals wrung from the bronze they wrought
but come the day in hell’s crucibles
they turn their call to each battle fought.
the shore may be golden
and bright shines the morning sun
but a fish beached by the tide
gasps its last moments.