On my birthday
With Ford and Howard, Boyer, Kubek
Richardson, and Skowron,
Berra, Mantle, Maris in the field
the boys of summer ’61
were powerful and glamorous,
unrivaled in the thrills that they could yield.
A five year-old lefty I was then
When Roger broke the unbreakable mark
and somehow opened an unseen door
through which we walked into a new age
of shining possibility —
we had no clue what the sixties had in store.
And nor do I and nor do you,
nor can we know when epochs change.
It’s not as though it’s written in the sky!
At 61, now more than ever,
I know there is no storyboard,
no guarantee on which we can rely —
at least not unambiguous,
or painless, or self-evident —
which answers every doubt and makes it clear
that all is well and all is well
and all manner of things will all be well,
despite the breathless claims I often hear.
We turn and turn, and turn and turn —
to everything a season.
We rise and fall, and heal and rise again.
From this small vantage
every moment’s present and inscrutable,
its purpose, goal, and motion beyond ken.
I look back on six decades
of stories left unfinished;
remnants floating, washing up on shore:
a patchwork map to guide me?
or fuel to build my beach fire?
I know not what the sixties have in store.