A World in Old Age

Mankind it seems is getting old,

Maturing in the mind

From Homo erectus to sapiens to civilis,

Progressively refined.

The quintessence of dust we are, no doubt,

But of manners too, if you please.

Like a mist we cover the teeming earth,

Or a cloud of golden bees

Or beads in a cloak of many colours

Wrapped around the globe:

Six billion individualities

Brilliant in one robe.

Each like a little star we are,

All bright and full of light

And heat: as precious needle points

In an embroidery of night.

Yet our light and heat are too intense;

So we do not connect

And cannot connect - like rays that

Refract not but reflect.

The weave of ages wears too thin.

When oneness of world should bind, we stars

Like little suns stand apart and die apart,

Venus forever at odds with Mars.

The triumphs of our ripening

Well may make us proud;

But ageing, failing, disintegrating,

A cloak can become a shroud.