The Octogenarian

We spend our years as a tale that is told.

Ps 90:9 (King James Bible)

I said to the man who asked me:

‘What valediction will you give

when the lease of your house expires?’

A tale that is told.

(He expected requiescat in pace or

some other elegiac piety).

Just a tale that is told,I repeated

as my years are outsold and I am come

to the threshold of a step in the dark.

Just a tale that is told.

‘Who did the telling?’ he pressed,

being bold. And I answered

I do not know whether I’m the tale

or the telling, nor who holds

this leasehold. All I know,

when chapters are polled, they could speak

for or against me. At least, now that I’m old,

in faith I shall yield this leasehold

to the One who first plotted,

A tale that is told.