Michael Gottlieb / Letters to a Middle-Aged Poet / 25


Those who can’t accept their fate with dignity – do we, should we, think any less of them?

We may not bear it well. And, what if, when it comes to people like us, if we just fall apart as the blows begin to fall?

What do you expect from us anyway? We did our bit. We did our part (and what, pray tell, have you done?) did we not? If now, in the face of all that we now by virtue of such skill and mettle or just plain thoughtless, disinterested luck, that has seen us survive so far, we have to end up dealing with all of this – this aging, this obsolescence, this disease, this decrepitude – why shouldn’t we react in just the self-same way as so many of us do?

Isn’t it a perfectly natural response? Who can blame us? If only… if only it were not for those, those others, the ones who don’t cry out in the night. The ones who do not complain. The ones who don’t slip, don’t slow down. The ones who, while certainly looking over their shoulder, don’t slacken their pace even one step as the weather increases, in the face of just the kind of storm which we – we would, we did, we will, indeed, we will certainly – succumb to, but through which they, unlike us, it seems, somehow persevere.

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