Pockets without lint or mint wished to outdo the holes; But
those poked right through the threads binding the white cotton
And loudly testified to the old man’s nervous habits; though not
to the former dandy’s tendency to dazzle on both street & stage.
He died bankrupt, his flare reduced to the colour of coal;
Still, the hidden riches he hoped we would in time uncover,
For he bequeathed sheaves to generations down the line:-
Taking year after year to fill archives like the library’s
with volumes he figured a wise few might retrieve.
The pages told of his uncommon dreams till even those diminished,
Like all the riches worth having diminished trial after trial,
Proving to him that glitter and polish amounted to poppycock —
A waste of time when all seemed lost and he was falling back
into the tiredness that consumes the lusty man who chases life,
Unaware and unconcerned with the high cost of fast living.
Pressed then to the stone floor, like to a bosom soft and warm,
He forsook a bed in favour of recreating a time in his tiny cell
draughty and by a small candle lit, when a neighbour hummed
and hummed till the mother of lords took him truly to hers.