My blurring eyes, my deafened ears—
O careless sadism of the years!
Sun-loving and sun-ravaged skin—
One-sided love has done you in.
My teeth—less said, less missed!—my heart—
My runaway, my telltale heart—
Heart whose misfirings can defeat
The pulse of this iambic beat!
(While hypochondria detects
Whatever ill it hears of next.)
In couplets that are not heroic
I try to say, in accents stoic:
For every rusting body-fetter
Perhaps my wit will work the better.
I will not be subservient
To every ruined ligament!
I'll prove on my anatomy
A body-mind dichotomy!
Brave words! No use! I cannot force
Such an unnatural divorce.
My body! You have stood by me
Through insult and through injury
Some eighty years. How can my mind,
Seeing you slow, not lag behind?
Its sharpness dulls, yet feels each ache.
How not to mourn for your sweet sake?
My generous, my failing host,
O do not yet give up this ghost.
Kindle for me a little spark,
For I am whistling in the dark.