We cling to keepsakes we should lose,
The ornamental stuff;
And choose to sell those simple things
Of which there aren’t enough.
Precious moments, thrown like coins,
We spend them, for we must.
While years are lost on older hearts,
Who gather them like dust;
Faith is misspent by the trusting,
The faithful and forgiving;
Our youth is wasted on the young,
As love is, on the living.
My brother once wrote a poem to the effect that, if youth is wasted on the young, then wisdom is wasted on the living. The young, of course, cannot be told. Youth cannot be invested: it can only be spent. And our final years cannot be frittered meaninglessly, but instead must be treasured. There’s an ironic symmetry to it.
By way of an analogous metaphor, we say that our “patience is spent,” or we “lose our temper.” Interesting linguistics there. These are qualities we should keep, in a way; but are fungible, devoured through use.
So, I quickly jotted out a brief lyrical verse. Quite jolly in meter, I suppose, despite the subject matter.