The Hourglass

“Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis

Vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:

Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo.”

[from The Waste Land. T.S. Eliot.}


I have become 

    accustomed to life.

Three score and four-

and I’m not keeping score-

years, and there well may be more.

And that was just married

    to one wife!

My first spouse was Hell-

that, lasted just twenty-

two ten-year wars,   well,

    one was too many.

For Better Or Worse-

they don’t mention the curse-

with an old gal from Ital

    named Syble.

Now?  she sits yonder there

    on the table.

And the second wife, too!

Oh, what’s one to do?

No one dare said

    the curse was transferrable!

Now a young girl goes by.

She calls me “Good Sir,”

and asks of me,

    what do I want?

“Well, I want to die;

but, otherwise, please try

three hour-glasses –

they’ll go well together

    on your table.”

©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn


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