Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town
and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life?
For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
The dark unveils a door that leads to morn; Morn leads to noon
Like May to June; summer is born and leads to autumn’s flare
Then autumn, like a husk of corn, brittle, stripped of its boon
Falls prey where winter’s milky way leads to green ev’rywhere
The bud that breaks, the babe that takes us by the hand soon proves
That nothing stays the same for long in this dust-to-dust law
Where childhood-teenage-middle-age in subtle oceans moves
And there is no rehearsal for its elemental awe
First breath, for all its in-between leads to death’s ultimate
Where time’s moment-ous treasure no miser can hoard or save
And all that we are called to do is make the best of it
Before that last appointment that leads through, not to the grave
© Janet Martin
The last line of this poem is inspired by a line in the book