The earth has once more circled round the sun;
Another birthday draws, too quickly, near.
The year has passed—and what have I to show?—
In countless fleetingly unnoticed moments.
But when I sometimes most “come to myself,”
I cry, “God help me!” from these troubled depths:
Do not permit my soul to stumble on
Along that wide and straight and smooth-paved road
Without a single turn or mile-marker,
Toward which, unless I watch with vigilance,
My mortal steps most naturally tend,
Nor run until the point of weariness
Around in fruitless circles—paths of thought
That I cannot, of my own will, escape,
No matter how I strive to concentrate
On “things above,” to put those out of mind.
Oh, that this year I might do better:
See the moments left—prepared—for me,
And what to do, with courage to obey,
As they approach, not only in regret.

This coming Monday is my birthday. I wanted to have a new poem to mark the occasion, as I have once before. Fortunately, I had the opening lines come to me earlier this week, followed later by more thoughts tangentially related to milestones that worked their way into the remainder of the poem.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems nearly every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive” installments, since the full archive is by now, at over two hundred poems, somewhat daunting). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.


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