A Prayer For Old Age

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


These are the things which I would ask of Time:
When I am old,
Never to feel in soul doubt's spiritual rime;
The heart grow cold
With self; but in me that which warms my time.


Never to feel the drouth, the dearth that kills,
Before one dies,
Of mind, full-flowering on thought's fertile hills;
But, in my skies,
The falcon, Fancy, that no season kills.


Never to see the shadow at my door,
Nor fear its fall;
But wait serenely, whether rich or poor,
Nor care at all,
So Love sits with me at my open door.


Never to have a dream I dreamed destroyed:
And towards the last
Live o'er again all that I have enjoyed,
The happy Past,
Through these, the dreams, no time has yet destroyed.


Never to lose my love for lowly things;
To feel the need
For simple beauty still: each bird that sings,
Each flower and weed
That looks its message of unguessed-at things.


Never to lose my faith in Nature, God:
But still to find
Worship in trees; religion in each sod;
And in the wind
Sermons that breathe the universal God.


Never to age in mind; much less in heart;
But keep them young
With song, glad song, that still shall have its part,
Sung or unsung,
Within the inmost temple of my heart.


That I may lose not all my trust in men!
And, through it, grow
Nearer to Heaven and God: and softly then
Meet Death and know
He has no terrors for my soul. Amen.

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