Cycle of Life
by James D. Cummins
Watching white-haired oldsters play
their game of shuffleboard that day,
the frail lad with dirty face betrayed,
envy of these fortunates who played.
They in their clean, and so well pressed,
white linen clothes, were neatly dressed.
He, aware that such shabby clothes he wore,
shamed, for at each knee his pants were tore.
Barefoot and sad he stayed far back,
his shirt was made from a flour sack.
Would he ever have this much leisure,
to enjoy days spent in such a pleasure.
He almost cried, he was so sad,
for him the future looked so bad.
His fears for the future seemed so bleak,
knowing himself to be, frail and weak.
He couldn't know, that this elderly crew,
should have envied him, if they but knew.
Knowing their lives were almost done,
while for this boy it had barely begun.
Their cheerful play, only endeavoring to be brave
knowing all too soon, they would find their grave.
But this sad boy who watched them at play,
would see many years before he turned gray.
How could he know as he stood near tears,
life would help him, overcome those fears.
A good fortune protected him from many scars,
as fate wrote for him, good fortune in the stars.
He followed Magellan's voyage of his dreams,
but he would not be killed in the Philippines.
This dream came true without that disaster,
those two new canals made his trips faster.
Sailing over, many oceans and seas,
but life of course was never a breeze.
In hard times and good, in equal measure,
life offered adventures for his pleasure.
Finding a good wife, seemed beyond all hope,
but fortunately he found one, to help him cope.
A college diploma was the dream of his life,
and it came to pass with the help of his wife.
He had dreamed of flying, high in the sky,
and fortune provided a plane he could buy.
He flew across country, up and down both coasts,
flying to Canada and Mexico weren't idle boasts.
He followed the dream of a career in engineering
achieved that with the help of a wife so endearing.
It was true, his engineering degree he earned quite late,
but had he never started, he couldn't arrive at the gate.
He had to start, and had to persevere,
still going, though it took many a year.
Success comes hard, for all who yearn it,
but happiness awaits those who earn it.
For I was that little boy who admired,
and envied those seniors then retired.
But now that I am retired as were they,
and now their silly games I could play.
I now admire these young men who are clad,
in mournful black clothes, with hearts so sad.
For they have their lives, before them still,
Do they know they can be happy if they will?
My life it's true, now closer to it's ending,
while their lives, are nearer their beginning.
They should never envy this failing pen,
better that I, now with reason, envy them.