“Be us not as the Gray-Gone
whose lives have been overlong,
let us not linger on and on,
but be short as a child’s song.
Be not dry with withered lips
for kiss together given
and be us not grown hard as pips
nor bitter weed soon riven.
Claim us color as a dawn
quick to rise and soon ablaze;
let us be not grey, grim, and wan,
but let birds sing morning’s praise.
We are fleeting youth itself
entwined in a garden’s flair—
mortal we be, not god or elf,
so love me ere gray of hair.
Let us cherish fresh flowers
and make love a delicious clime,
for there are no earthly powers
to fend off Fate’s after-time.”
(Inspired by a term in one of John Keats’s poem, the term being “Grey-gone”, but this is to serve as a eulogy for a character in my novella “Venom Pies”, though that title may well change before publication.)