I am not most men, but still
I have to tip my hat to what in them
Abides in me—most
men give up romance
At some point. If they haven't learned to
Before they reach my age they never will.
The rose, such as it is, is off the stem,
But not the thorns. The thorns are what
And love is crowded round with hurtful things.
What's in the thicket loses its allure.
Most men are sleeping when the night-bird sings.
I'm just the same. What most men know I'd
Except I know a rose whose flame I'm sure
Will never fade, and that is why I burn.
© 2000 Alfred Nicol; originally printed in Edge City
Reprinted by permission of the author.