Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poem of the Week #58

The Trouble with Young People

The trouble with young people
is that they are so darn young
and energetic. They know the value
of an ideal. And they have not lived
long enough to see their dreams
dashed to pieces on the rocks
of hearth and commerce.
They jingle like loose change
and can afford happy-go-lucky.

The trouble with young people
is that they have minds of their own—
much to our chagrin—but fortunately
for the planet and all its inhabitants,
they never falter in their quest for harmony
and truth. They would like to see us not fail.
They aren’t very wise, and they can do things
that are incredibly stupid every now and then,
(didn’t we?) causing us to shake our heads
and say, we told you so.

And yet, and yet….
There is something to them,
these smooth, shiny, young people. I think
they are on to something. Because they abhor
injustice and neglect, and they are always at the forefront
of new thought. They take to invention like ducks to water.
If there is a better way to do something, you can bet,
a young person will find it, whereas, an old person—
as wise and experienced as we are—
will generally do the same
thing over and over
until it kills us.

If you see them laughing too much
or strutting a bit, or exposing too much skin,
if you see them with wildly colored hair
or funny clothes, or small pieces of metal stuck
through their body parts, do not condemn them outright.
Think back to when you were young:
how anything went, how the world was your oyster,
how far and distant, death’s horizon.

The trouble with young people
is that they remind us
how old we have become:
a little too set and sedentary
a little too complacent on the couch of life.
The closer we come to the end,
the more we must be
like young people:
fight for a cause,
explore a new world,
strut our still-sexy stuff,
expose some part of ourselves
to them and ourselves and each other.
If not our delicately-creased skin,
then maybe our still-beating hearts,
the things we have come to treasure,
the things we yet desire.

Lisa Vihos

No comments: