When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation),—sleep, eating, and swilling—buttoning and unbuttoning—how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse.

What's given us of actual existence?
One teasing, fading hour. A rodent's summer.
But time to tread a negligible distance
And cede our spot of earth to the next comer.
Time leads us on, then proffers but a crumb; her
Broad gift fills hollowly and passes quick, see?
What truth torments us more or leaves us glummer?
Lord Byron wasn't simply blowin' Dixie.

The body's constant bullying insistence
On food and drink and sleep-how troublesome! Her
Unwavering demands brook no resistance.
The shaves, the showers! Even burdensomer,
The toiling for a paycheck, growing number
By day, each man with his own load of bricks he
Must tote. The hours waiting for the plumber!
Lord Byron wasn't simply blowin' Dixie.

It makes the starriest-eyed optimist tense-
And wisemen with gold, frankincense and some myrrh-
To think of never being seen or missed hence.
Though in their shallow, thoughtless youth, true, some err
And feel they've lots of time-What blunder dumber?-
Before long, even dolts and lunatics see
Theirs is a different, but no slower drummer.
Lord Byron wasn't simply blowin' Dixie.

Prince, in a flash the great Fee-Fie-Fo-Fummer
Chops us all down. We're all in the same fix, see?
Life speeds away. Our moment passes. Bummer.
Lord Byron wasn't simply blowin' Dixie.

first published in Pivot