Youth and Age

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Youth that rides the wildest horse,  
 Youth that throws the deadliest steer,  
Spending strength without remorse,  
 Grappling with the ghosts of fear,  
Knows it only holds to-day  
All it freely flings away.  

Youth that rides a race with Death  
 When the frightened cattle break,  
Living in the moment’s breath,  
 Risking all for honour’s sake,  
Lightly knows it holds in fee  
Life and immortality.  

Age that rides the spavined grey,  
 Age that seeks the safest track,  
Scenting perils by the way,  
 Dreaming of the journey back,  
Leaves behind it all the truth  
Known to the wild heart of youth.

© Vance Palmer