Broughton, James, 1913-1999: In My Seventy-Third November [from Packing Up For Paradise: Selected Poems 1946-1996: James Broughton (1997) , University of Pittsburgh Press ]
Perseverance furthers says the I Ching
but body cells get tired along the way
and cease dividing.
Hard to accept: running at half speed
being embraced nightly by a backache.
Despite my belief in urgency
and my respect for discipline
I have never learned to train my vaguery
or budget my vagaries.
Though I still consider myself
potent passionate and proliferant
I excel in doodle dawdle and drowse.
Don’t blame me for being what I am.
We are all more things than we seem.
I haven’t relinquished amazement
nor have I forgotten how to cherish.
If I am staring out the window at nothing
maybe it is something worth looking at.
In spite of my chronic torpor
I cling to the habit of frolic,
I keep signing up for gaiety and grace.
Regardless of my dwindle I know I am loved,
because of my nuttiness I know I am blessed.
Laughter said Victor Hugo is the soap of the gods.
I scrub daily to be dafter hereafter.
( 1986 )
Broughton’s poem speaks of the November of one’s life–the “damp, drizzly November” in the soul as Melville writes in Moby Dick. And what fine sound-effects in the final two lines.