Tuesday, 10 March 2009


“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” - Mark Twain

In the aeroplane back on my way home from Brisbane I saw a young man engrossed in a copy of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. His face was quite a picture of concentration and engagement and it brought to mind the first time I had read that classic. I could easily imagine myself in his place, devouring the book, absorbing each word of the cautionary fable and being quite removed from the world surrounding me. Even the picture on cover of his book was the same as the cover on my copy.

It took me back, made me feel old but at the same time was also quite an uplifting experience. It made feel part of the human river’s flow, part of the ever-turning wheel, a small grain in the sands of time. Like me, the young man would age, would move on, lay aside his copy of “Animal Farm”, overcome his rightful indignation and slowly lose his youthful enthusiasm to change the world, settle down into a job, a career, a routine, and like me would some time in the future see another young man reading the same book, quite possibly with the same cover picture…

Time sometimes flows like a rapid mountain stream, bounding and leaping over rocks, sometimes slowly like a river nearing the sea amidst its broad banks. Time may rush torrentially and fall over precipices in a maddening powerful cataract or it may languish in some backwater, hardly moving in the cul-de-sac, but passing by nevertheless in all cases. We may behave as if we are immortal, but look at the hourglass and watch the sand grains falling down inexorably and we our end approaching.

We look in the mirror each day and we are oblivious to the marks of time on our face. Line by line on our face, white hair by white hair we become older and we accommodate ourselves to the ravages of time on our reflection. It only takes an old photograph to fall not our hands and as we look at ourselves as we were in the past, the realisation hits home that we have changed. And then we think back of how we were, how we thought, how we loved, how we believed and we realise that the change goes beyond our grey hairs and deeper than the lines on our face. We have changed inside as well…

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the gift of your wonderful poem!
    I love the sound s-s-s- great alliteration, even if it were unintentional. Though, I know that it can be in the back of the poet's mind and manifests itself just because it feels right...

    I am amazed that on the other side of the world there is a person who thinks in unison with me: Death, time, ever changing yet constant Nature... young people who have to repeat our mistakes - and our victories..

    I am looking forward to your new work!