An Old Man Sees Himself

By Conrad Aiken

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AN OLD MAN SEES HIMSELF
BY CONRAD AIKEN

Solitary, before daybreak, in a garden Dark amid the unchanging snow, Watching the last star fading in a fountain Whence melodies of eternal water flow, Festus, seeing the sky-line burn and brighten Coldly, far above the hidden sun; Seeing the golden thread of glory unravelled Along the wall of mountains run, Hears in his heart a cry of bewilderment; And turning, now here, now there– Like one who pauses a moment before departure– Partakes of the grace of earth and air, Drinks of the vast blue splendour of the sky, The mile on mile of dew-blanched grass, The cloud-swept trees, the stones, bare cliffs of bronze; And in the pool, as in a glass, Ringed round with nodding asters, frosted leaf-tips, Stoops to see his image; and behold, How faded is the scarlet of his mantle! His face, how changed and old! . . .


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