I stand here alive,
Fit to fiddle and thrive,
While so many die
Or in poverty live
Or strive in terror’s hive
Dreaming to play one’s hand as I.

Old I be — mostly written-off,
Yet from the coughing–up,
Inspiration’s breathing holds its spin
And though I slow-dance with care
One foresees not for long — and
One’s heart — never to be young again.

Who am I to still play my hand,
Muse with Yeats of her,
“That girl standing there”
Midst politics and “war’s alarms”–
“But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms”?

Who am I to poet so
With Wordsworth’s “sense sublime” —
“but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity” —
Midst presences of “elevated thoughts”
A “joy” that “rolls through all things”?

Who am I to sing with the Bard’s
Finding of “tongues in trees
Books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones,” but his
“good in every thing” defiled,
As random death still hacks the deck?

Alas, as well as I play my dealt deal,
I am who I am in this Hold for real–
Memory’s armless hold of memory:
Presences of Joy still holding their smart
Midst precarious rolls of randomness —
Earth’s precipitous nags of frailty’s hurt.

Who am I, seeing fardoms-quantums
Through science’s telescope —
Shere infinity of finities’ tantrums
As if lost in spaced conundrums
With but our own reasons for hope:
Eyes that see no gods to cope?

Still, all-in-all, I’m still me,
Holding my own in The Hold —
That ephemeral everywhere real
That spins all that’s to tell
As if caught in a web so bright,
That’s ever shaken by winds of fright.

This drama’s poetry’s writ
Is an Eartharian script.
I, too, shall die of it.
But I live, yet, in life’s arms;
Where often some ageless joy’s
Enthralled by beauty’s alarms.

Who am I? — still “calling the cattle home
Across the sands o’ Dee” — but a Mary
Of that “all alone” played by destiny’s
WhenWhereEver a life’s gamble unfolds;
For any me a birth-death Tale that’s told:
A quick catch of breath in Forever’s Hold.

[The poets: Yeats’ “Politics” — Wordsworth’s “Lines….” — Shakespear’s “As You Like It” — Kingsley’s “O Mary, Go and Call the Cattle Home.”]