Ephemeral Lives - William Saint George

The sun burns the last shreds of night
Still wrapped in the dewy cocoon's
Birth-sheets; fickle under burning light,
This quiet nativity is in the death of the moon:

The drying grass accompanies the drying
Of my wings. Long curled, they unfurl
Into a brilliant blossom,
Stoked by the fires of a short passion for life,
However fickle and sorry lived.

I poke my probing eyes into a world of wonder:
Colour beats colour in ever-contending

Extravagances just to please the pollen-bearer's
Sweet tongue:
A little gift for a great service,
(much like the penny for the cobbler's worth),
But even better, for the kindness of a cupful
Lasts some hours,
And these hours are keenly spent flirting with daisies,
Or rejecting the audacities of the pretentious rose.

A few hours stretch like a century before me;
The seconds of a drinkful of nectar
A year-long ecstasy.
Reeling pangs of delight stiffen wings,
And make crazed convulsions of unadulterated joy,
How sweet!

But then it's on, and off,
And I flirt with the fancy dressed field ladies,
Topped in hats and sweetly scented pansies,

But the climax of the day is passed
And the gathering orange-stained clouds
Loom over a short destiny:
Like a rope that expectantly ruptures
Under strain, yet still snaps with a shock
And a low mutter of condolence.

The sun which triumphed at the break of day
Is old and sickly as my tired wings
And crackling feet,
And the exhaustion from pleasing service
And unintended battles with vile humans.

Now the hours tick away the receding embers
Of hope that was kindled,
And the cool winds of resignation
Clip the wings and squash my fruitless rebellion:
Nature versus destiny and a tiny, stubborn will,
Sworn to glide the fields and dance the garden breezes.

All is now gone, and the ephemeral life I have lived
And loved fades into the obscurity of my race:
The flowers I fertilized will grow,
And my children shall taste their fruits.

That is the sacrifice.
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