When Eliot told about the gifts of age
he spoke the truth; but only half the truth.
Let me reveal a kinder, riper, stage;
a gift that springs from discipline in youth,
which spices every moment that one lives.
It is to sense each moment as the last;
to savour every fleeting joy life gives
in present beauties: free of all our past
and present debts. The human mind well-stored
interprets nature's gifts with added zest.
Through work and knowledge comes this great reward:
enjoyment of old age the final test.
We get what we have earned, maturity;
the only right, the one security.
[from the Desert of my Heart and Mind by F.J.A.Pockley 1912-1990]