When we are young and think we own our precious youth,
we do not realize what treasure we possess.
When we are old, we see what we have lost.
Riches once were given that we left unprized -
strength and innocence from a universal source -
because we thought all life was meant to be like that.
We had no way by which to know or judge,
we saw through only eyes of simple youth.
Now we recognize it was just a gift,
like life itself received, enjoyed but once
then slowly slipped away, a one-time loan
now called in, never to be held again.
But youth is only part of life, not the whole, by far.
Mind, feeling, spirit; insight, sense of art and life
increase with age as youth and supple beauty fade.
We change, we grow, we lose, we gain, we come to understand
that life is more than rosy cheek and lithely muscled limb,
the purple flower fresh the honeyed bee does suck in spring.
Life's serene and bitter both, there is truth we come to see,
transcendence of a kind, faithful, pure, inquiring mind,
heart that fully feels the pain and glory of the world.
Our bodies ravaged be, but beauty ever dwells in you and me.