A World in Old Age
Mankind it seems is getting old,
Maturing in the mind
From Homo erectus to sapiens to civilis,
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.