At Seventy-Five: Rereading An Old Book - Poem by Hayden Carruth
My prayers have been answered, if they were prayers. I live.
I'm alive, and even in rather good health, I believe.
If I'd quit smoking I might live to be a hundred.
Truly this is astonishing, after the poverty and pain,
The suffering. Who would have thought that petty
Endurance could achieve so much?
And prayers --
Were they prayers? Always I was adamant
In my irreligion, and had good reason to be.
Yet prayer is not, I see in old age now,
A matter of doctrine or discipline, but rather
A movement of the natural human mind
Bereft of its place among the animals, the other
Animals. I prayed. Then on paper I wrote
Some of the words I said, which are these poems.
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The Road Not Taken
If You Forget Me
Edgar Allan Poe
Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
Mary Elizabeth Frye
William Ernest Henley
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night