Quand j’étais jeune

The leaves sprang bright and

Green from every branch

Sparkling in the spring sun

 

Et maintenant

The leaves fall red, yellow

And museum blue

From each knotty limb

 

Quand j’étais jeune

Dashing like a gazelle

Across the trafficked boulevard

Catching the bus as it paused

 

Et maintenant

Waving a cane of oak

Cursing the huffing diesel

Standing behind and alone

 

Quand j’étais jeune

The femme avec les yeux

Smiled like an amused cat

Purred and waited

 

Et maintenant

Like an irritated crow

The femme squawks

And flies away

 

Quand j’étais jeune

My head was full of dreams

Et maintenant

There is only the menace of silence

 

Phillip Periman

Phillip Periman was born in 1938 in Memphis, Texas, grew up in Amarillo. He received a BA in history from Yale University and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine. He has had poems published by the Black Mountain Press in their anthology, “The Sixty-Four” (Best Poets of 2018) and by Unstamatic. He writes about aging, retirement, his life, and the world as he finds it—always in an attempt to acknowledge the real.

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