We, the Young by Colin Milton Thiele

We have grown old, even in our Youth
and, having missed our cue,
will hereinafter banter with that truth….

We will rebuild no world, not we the young
grown old: for we shall spend
whole lives in filing edges from our tongues,

in whittling cynic bits of mind— the keen dismembered
shards of broken trusts;
in swabbing gashes in the ranks of the remembered.

For we have lived when hope has butted fear
bruising our battered souls
so endlessly— each hour, each day, each year,

that faith is treason and a sallow smirk
gilds the philosophy
we fondle as our masterpiece of work.

And in our time small children have descried
suspicion through young eyes—
have looked at death and have not even cried….

No, we will rebuild no world— our day is squandered;
but this we owe— the raising of a sign
to mark the horrible places where we blundered

that, standing derelict, we point the way
to these next young
who, driving ploughshares in their day,

may still behold the swords wherewith we bleed
and, shunning us,
go out to sow a richer, purer seed.

From: Thiele, Colin, Splinters and Shards: Poems, 1945, Jindyworobak Publications: Adelaide, p. 7.

Date: 1945

By: Colin Milton Thiele (1920-2006)

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