The Old Codger’s Lament

Who can say now,
“When I was young, the country was very beautiful?
Oaks and willows grew along the rivers
and there were many herbs and flowering bushes.
The forests were so dense the deer slipped through
the cottonwoods and maples unseen.”

Who would listen?
Who will carry even the vicarious tone of that time?

In the old days
                        age was honored.
Today it’s whim,
                         the whelp without habitat.

Who will now admit
                            that he is either old or young
or knows anything?
All that went out with the forests.

Carl Rakosi, “The Old Codger’s Lament” from The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (Orono: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986). Used with the permission of Marilyn J. Kane.
Source: The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi (National Poetry Foundation, 1986)
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