Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth
While the evil days come not,
Nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened,
Nor the clouds return after the rain:
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high
And fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree
And the grasshopper
shall be a burden, and desire
Because man goeth to his long home
, and the mourners go about the streets.
Ecclesiastes 12, 1 (King James version)
When I was young Time had no wings
But ran with the smooth bounty of a stream
Drawn from exhaustless snows, unfathomed springs.
All occupation that I could invent
Stuffed round with idleness, in that space went
Which to no measure yields
But the sundial's bright monotonous content
Or slow-voiced steeples in the darkening fields.
Now I grow old
Time eyes my landmarks. Time, becoming bold
Snarls at my heels.
Unfinished hopes clog in the clock's mad wheels.
Grinning Apollyon stands across my way;
Where is the armour that I should have made,
The fine-drawn weapon of the unafraid?
To work on them I was allowed the day
And lost it in the lethargy of dream.
(Mrs. Josephine Langton Woodhouse, 1909 - 1981)
Anthony Woodhouse was, I suppose it's fair to say, a minor English poet, quoted in essays with titles like "The Stoic Tradition in Modern English Poetry." She did, however, win Oxford's Newdigate Prize, which puts her somewhere up alongside Matthew Arnold and Oscar Wilde, earlier Newdigate winners.
(Since she was also my mum, maybe I'll give her a small node of her own . . .) (M.W)