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Brittle Bones

Robert Graves 1895 (Wimbledon) – 1985 (Deià)

Though I am an old man
With my bones very brittle,
Though I am a poor old man
Worth very little,
Yet I suck at my long pipe
At peace in the sun,
I do not fret nor much regret
That my work is done.

If I were a young man
With my bones full of marrow,
Oh, if I were a bold young man
Straight as an arrow,
And if I had the same years
To live once again,
I would not change their simple range
Of laughter and pain.

If I were a young man
And young was my Lily,
A smart girl, a bold young man,
Both of us silly.
And though from time before I knew
She'd stab me with pain,
Though well I knew she'd not be true,
I'd love her again.

If I were a young man
With a brisk, healthy body,
Oh, if I were a bold young man
With love of rum toddy,
Though I knew that I was spiting
My old age with pain,
My happy lip would touch and sip
Again and again.

If I were a young man
With my bones full of marrow,
Oh, if I were a bold young man
Straight as an arrow,
I'd store up no virtue
For Heaven's distant plain,
I'd live at ease as I did please
And sin once again.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:10 min read
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Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves was an English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, novelist and soldier in World War One. more…

All Robert Graves poems | Robert Graves Books

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