.

In nature’s loving show of all things fair
the fruits of youth seem sweetest to the eye,
the world applauds youth’s beauty as most rare
and pours sweet praise on looks that sadly die.

Light limbs, clear cheeks, soft lips and shining eyes
compel all minds to cherish nature’s parts,
yet time does know that looks conceal false lies
for what is now most prized in time departs.

Although in youth old age shows not its face,
it carves a course as surely as day’s sun.
Within youth’s soul unconscious of time’s race,
death’s conscious worm corrodes till life is won.

Fair looks, ripe beauty, life’s sweet consciousness,
all fade in time to dust-filled nothingness.

.

.

Donald McCrory is a British poet with a Ph.D in modern Spanish poetry and Fellowship in the Royal Geographical Society. He was appointed head of the Modern Languages department at the American University in London in 1984. He has been published widely. 


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16 Responses

  1. Cynthia Erlandson

    This brings to mind Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 (“That time of year thou may’st in me behold, / When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang / Upon these boughs that shake against the cold, / Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. …”

    Reply
  2. Allegra Silberstrin

    Thank you for this poem with so much truth and beauty in the lines…Allegra Silberstein

    Reply
    • DONALD PETER McCRORY

      HI ALLEGRA!

      Thankyou for your well-considered comments. The sonnet form has always been a favourite of mine but how sad to have to admit that modern poetry competitions seem to cater for free verse only! For more of my work please go to my website1 At the moment I am living in SE Spain.

      Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    The sonnet is quite lovely, and profoundly Shakespearean in both style and tone.

    Reply
    • DONALD PETER McCRORY

      You are quite right Joseph; I was brought up on Shakespaere’s sonnets and even today still turn to some of my favourites; “Shall I compare thee etc,;
      Of course later on at university I discovered the Petrarchan model and use it sometimes,,,

      Reply
  4. Margaret Coats

    Beautiful wordplay on “sweet” in the first stanza and the couplet, and on “conscious” in the third stanza and the couplet, coming together with “sweet consciousness” in line 13, where the “fruits of youth” have become “ripe beauty.” They may fade “in time,” but not while we delight in this poignant poem.

    Reply
  5. Monty

    This is a very thoughtful piece, Don: and very nicely written. Regarding the last five words of line ten . . would that not depend on where in the world one resides? Otherwise it might not be so “surely”.

    Reply
    • DONALD PETER McCRORY

      HI MONTY!

      I sent a reply to your question> Did you receive it?

      Sometimes my PC {here in Spain} plays tricks on me!

      If you have not received my reply please let me know ad I’ll re-send it to you asap!Thanks for your interest in the sonnet.

      Reply
  6. DONALD PETER McCRORY

    HI MONTY.

    Many thanks for your interest in the sonnet and for your question. What is important here is not the course the sun takes (sunlight varies greatly in different parts of the world) but the fact that passing time, the ageing process, proceeds willy-nilly; nothing can stop it. That is why Lord Buddha urges us to ‘live in the moment’, only now is real!

    I have written a novel, aimed at the Mind/Body/Spirit market,. entitled ONLY NOW IS REAL and seek a publisher. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Monty

      Yeah, I was aware of the context in which you used those words, Don: as an analogy for the ‘inevitability’ of some things. ‘..as surely as day’s sun’, in the same way that one might say: ‘..as surely as night follows day’; or ‘..as surely as death and taxes’. I was just mischievously pointing out that – while it’s inevitable that night follows day, and there’ll always be death and taxes – there are many parts of the world where the day doesn’t inevitably bring sun. Hence I felt that it was a slightly hopeful analogy. On top of which, I felt the wording of ‘day’s sun’ was a tad awkward in itself (it assumes the day owns the sun); and would’ve looked neater with (forgetting metre for the moment) ‘..as surely as day brings sun’.

      Given that I’ve been spending my winters in Nepal for the last 17-18 years, it’s not hard for me to concur with your above mantras. Indeed, if I may blow my own trumpet, my whole life (even before I discovered Eastern philosophies) has been predicated around “living in the moment; only now is real”. Also, I couldn’t agree more with your words to David (below), saying “The only thing by which we’ll be judged when we’re gone is how we spent our time whilst here”. I’m pushing 60 now, and I still somehow lead an active and fairly peripatetic life; and I feel that the only thing which has always driven me to be so determined to live the way I do . . is the dreaded thought of reaching old age with regrets of all the things I meant to do but didn’t! That’d be unbearable.

      Me.. know any publishers? Certainly not! I can only dream about having a book – any kind of book – completed, hence being in a position where I had to start sniffing around for publishers. Heady heights indeed.

      Reply
      • DONALD PETER McCRORY

        NAMASTE MERA DOST MONTY JI! AP KAISE HAIM?
        In short; thanks for your reply. I studied ADVAITA VEDANTA c. 30 years+ and so the BhagavadGITA became my bible. I recently joined the Buddhist society in London[but I live in Spain] and so have read Buddhist texts widely; Lord Buddha came at the tail end of ADV. VEDANTA and so a great deal is familiar to me. Nepali is an offshoot of Sanskrit;I studied [and still do] HINDI; hence above greeting.

        Why not if poss, visit TIBET? If you visit my website you’ll find my interest in Eastern philos/religions/ langs.

        More anon!

        Donald(o)

      • Monty

        Let me assure you of one thing, Don: I would’ve visited Tibet long before now if only it’d been possible to do so. As you may know, about 15 years ago the Chinese powers-that-be added further conditions to their long-standing annexation of the region; one of which was to further regulate the tourism industry. Since when, one can’t simply fly in with a visa, then leave the airport and stay where one wants; or go where one wants. Nowadays, one has to be part of an organised tour-group of eight people or more, meaning one can only go there either with at least seven chums, or as part of a tour-group.. with which one must remain for the duration of their stay; staying at the groups’ designated hotels, and being taken to see the sights as a group, with a guide . . Yuk!

        Needless to say.. for those who consider themselves to be intrepid and seasoned travellers, all of the above is akin to saying that Tibet is out of bounds to the likes of us. I’ve been rampant to go there for many years now, but if it’s a choice of going under the above conditions or not going at all.. it’s the latter for me all day long. The thought of being told where to stay, where to go, and who with.. phew! Can you imagine being forced to socialise with an assembly of elderly Japanese tourists who don’t speak an ounce of English; or two deeply-conservative American couples? Phew, indeed.

        Given that Nepali is indeed a derivation of Sanskrit, I’ve always been surprised at how dissimilar it is to common Hindu. I can speak basic Nepali (with a big emphasis on the word ‘basic’), but trying to understand Hindu is, for me, like trying to understand Mongolian – a non-starter!

        May I ask where in Spain you live: and since how long? And where in Blighty did you grow up?

      • DONALD PETER McCRORY

        HOLA MONTY
        I was born in N,IRELAND but within months [so I believe] my parents moved to London, so I see myself as a Londoner. At the mo’ [ 7 years come Jan 27} I live just outside ALICANTE. I plan to return to the UK [ PRESTON = between Manchester & Liverpool in NW England where my sister lives!

        I plan to return in Sept and will do so [inschalla!”] if the situation in the Uk is better than in Spain! So it’s a waiting game!

        As for TIBET! How sad the Chinese invaded! I have been studying MANDARIN since 2015 AND really enjoy it and have been to BEIJING 3x doing intensive courses in Mandarin.

        Sorry to hear of your unsuccess to get to Tibet!

        Keep positive!

        Best, Donald

  7. David Watt

    Don, you link each stanza together beautifully to create a lovely sonnet. As Margaret has already commented on, “unconscious, conscious, unconsciousness” used appropriately in quick succession is a nice touch.

    Reply
    • DONALD PETER McCRORY

      Thank you very much David.

      Some say that the only thing that will be ‘judged’ afer death is how we spent our time while alive! A useful thought to keep in mind.

      By the way, the sonnet chosen by EVAN was written before 1978!

      Is my poetry being recognised at last??

      I won 3 prizes in 2019/20; the HAMMOND HOUSE INTL POETRY COMP chose my sonnet in 2019 and in 2020 was the ‘judge’s choice’.

      For more info., why not go to my website ? See below.

      Best, Donald

      Reply

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