A Plan

Don Marquis

Youth is the season of revolt; at twenty-five
We curse the reigning politicians,
Wondering that any man alive
Stands for such damnable conditions.
Whatever is, to us, is wrong,
In economics, life, religion, art;
The crowned old laureates of song
Are pikers, and accepted sages
Appear devoid of intellect and heart;
Continually, the ego in us rages;
Our sense of universal, rank injustice
Swells till it’s like to bust us;
We love to see ourselves as outcast goats
Browsing at basement tobbledotes,
The while we forge the mordant bolt
That is to give society its jolt;
And any man who wears two eyes upon his face
Contentedly and unashamed,
And glories in the pose
And makes a virtue of his having just one nose,
We curse as dull, conventional, and tamed
And commonplace.
Thirty finds us a trigle sobered, with a doubt
Whether we’ll turn the cosmos inside-out,
Reform the earth, regild the moon
And make the Pleiads sing a modern tune;
Some of the classics are not bores, we think,
And barbers have their uses;
We grow more choice in what we eat and drink,
Less angry at abuses;
We work a little harder, want more pay,
Grab on to better jobs,
And learn to make excuses
For certain individuals erstwhile condemned as snobs;
We do not worry nine hours every day
because the world in its traditional, crool way
Continues to roll calmly on and crush
The worthier myriads into bloody mush;
And yet, at thirty, on the whole,
If analyzed we still would show a trace of soul.
At forty—well, you know:
Chins, bank accounts, and stomachs start to grow;
The world’s still wrong in spite of all we’ve tried
To do for it, and we’re no longer broken hearted—
We sit on it and ride,
We’re willing, now, to let the darned thing slide
Along in just about the way it stated.
Of course, we’re anxious for reforms,
And all that sort of stuff,
Unless they cause too many economic storms—
But really, on the whole it’s well enough:
We hold by standards, rules and norms.
But when I’m eighty I intend
To turn a fool again for twenty years or so;
Go back to being twenty-five,
Drop cautions and conventions, join some little group
Fantastically rebel and alive,
And resolute, from soup
To nuts; I’ll reimburse myself
For all the freak stuff that I’ve had to keep upon the shelf;
Indulge my crochets,  be the friend of man,
And pull the thoughts I’ve always had to can—
I’m looking forward to a rough, rebellous, unrespectable old age,
Kicking the world uphill
With laughter shrill
And squeals of high-pitched, throaty rage.

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