Seventy: A Mere Quirk of the Clock

Vivian Hyatt | January 7, 2017

Author’s note: I wrote this poem for a friend who recently turned 70. 

Because I have been there and gone beyond,

I know the catch of thought that can dismay,

The quirk of clock that seventy years have dawned,

That I have somehow gotten to this day.


The calendar is wrong, it must be false

To tell me that the years that lie ahead

Are fewer than the ones that I have lost,

The path before so short that I will tread. 


The path, it must be said, is less my care:

The aching limbs, the waning of my might,

The gnarled hands a witness to their wear,

These not the fears I ponder in the night.


Fra Lippo Lippi said it well, no doubt:

To keep, please God, my mind, to lend it out.


“God uses us to help each other so,

Lending our minds out.”

— Robert Browning, “Fra Lippo Lippi” (1855)

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