Archived: “Tales of Young and Old” (2 grouped poems, individually titled “Days of Youth” and “Days of Age”) by Jared Merk

Days of Youth

A boy at play, outside,
limbs flailing as he
glides through patches
of sun and deepening shadows,
an octave lower than
last week. Yesterday even.
As he plays he invents
the world. It is his alone,
time nonexistent,
no boundary for
love and violence,
both intense from within
though he lacks words.
He is holy in youth and innocence,
ignorant of the life that dwells
in him, in the yard, the eternity
under his feet.
Soon his play will succumb to silence,
leaving the yard empty.
But for now he has these moments,
This summer, full of beauty and grace,
endless youth, all more than enough.

How the years stretch thin as summer’s shadow.

Days of Age

A boy at play, outside,
gliding through shadows
that have lengthened, have
grown with him.
The season swells.
Perhaps he’s the same boy,
perhaps he’s different,
but in the moment he’s suspended.
He is boy’s essence, lingering
on leaves of grass, perennials, flowers
pungent though their fragrance is fleeting
over a garden that withers.
And in the leaves, color stolen
by dusk, by winter, released from a weary
stem, forced to let go, fate left to wind
and mornings that chill,
a kaleidoscope of colors
covering the yard, the boy
who dances in autumn’s last days.

How the years turn dry as brittle leaves.




Jared is an English instructor at Aims and the creator/editor of the Aims Online Writing Lab, a website that provides writing resources for faculty and staff. He writes regularly because he once endured a lengthy period where he didn’t, and the resulting malaise was felt by everyone in his path.