Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"On Reaching the Age of Two Hundred" by Donald Hall

"Head of a Bearded Old Man" by Simone Cantarini (1612 - 1648)


When I awoke on the morning
of my two hundredth birthday,
I expected to be consulted
by supplicants
like the Sibyl at Cumae.
I could tell them something.


Instead, it was the usual thing:
dried grapefruit for breakfast,
Mozart all morning, interrupted
by bees’ wings,
and making love with a woman
one hundred and eighty-one years old.


At my birthday party
I blew out two hundred candles
one at a time, taking
naps after each twenty-five.
Then I went to bed, at five-thirty,
on the day of my two hundredth birthday,


and slept and dreamed
of a house no bigger than a flea’s house
with two hundred rooms in it,
and in each of the rooms a bed,
and in each of the two hundred beds
me sleeping.


"On Reaching the Age of Two Hundred" by Donald Hall from The Selected Poems of Donald Hall.
© Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 

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