In Praise of the Old Man

Even when you were my age
You were old:
Suffering and loss
Solitude in the midst of tumult
A wife overcoming polio
The cares of career
(And six kids) --
And a back
Aching from all that you had carried.

Now you have seen almost a century
And gotten younger all the time.
Not in body, to be sure,
But in brightness of mind
And clarity of vision.

Almost a prophet,
You see over the rim
Of life's horizon
And call back the sun --
The world is your
Wall of Jericho --

To measure out the wisdom
Of pure wonder.

Do stay --
Stay on, Old Man,
That we
Who sprang from your loins
May know more fully
How, toward the end,
Time for the truly virtuous
Stands still
And moves backward a little
The sun hesitating
For that eternal moment
Above the emerald sea.

--Mr. Gobley


Presence and Absence

Nothing is here
That has not spread its wings

Nothing is gone --
Its imprint is pressed
In the record of all things.

All is not lost --
All is here, untouched,
Unmediated, swift.

Why hold on tight,
When everything that lives
Must learn to drift?

This is your course --
Relayed to you
In hearbeat semaphore:

Toward Presence, mere Presence,
That near, that distant shore.

--Mr. Gobley