Retort to George Gordon, Lord Byron: Stanzas Written Looking Back Down the Road of Youth and Age
O, do not recall to me revels of youth,
When roaring hormones blinded us to much truth;
When we thought we knew all, but knew little beside
Our feelings, our wants, the demands of our pride.
At twenty, when none was allowed to advise us,
Our fancied omniscience inclined us to choices
We made for their semblance of love and of glory,
Increasing their sound and inflating their fury.
The mantle of myrtle has mercifully paled;
Narcissus and poppy are ceding the field
To the wisdom of iris, the violets’ humility
And the carnation’s pink token of constancy.
The early wildflowers of youthful emotion,
So short-lived and shallow, with shifting devotion,
Bloom fast, but soon pale, making way for calm age
To yield ripening love like a garland of sage.
Youth’s garden is bright, but its weeds soon grow wild;
In time, if well-kept, mature soil will yield
A flourishing plant with a deep-rooted story.
The days of our age may be lavish with glory.
Cynthia Erlandson is a poet and fitness professional living in Royal Oak, Michigan. She has had poems published in First Things, Modern Age, Measure Journal, Anglican Theological Review, The North American Anglican, Forward in Christ, and the Anthologies The Slumbering Host (ed. Clinton Collister), and A Widening Light, (ed. Luci Shaw).