One of them said of mules: A creature willing
To labor for you patiently many years,
Just for the privilege to kick you once.
Few men are good as their fathers, said another,
And most are worse, in the entropy of time,
Though some have said, My child----I am well traded!
One I know said to his son, So now we see you
On television: you're a celebrity now----
But then, you've been a celebrity all your life.
Something inside them, patient as a mule
That pulls the plow of being through decades,
Has watched the stalks of fashion rise and fall.
"Celebrity" May have meant "I think my wife
Always has treated you as better than me."
The Ibo say, An old man sitting down
Can see more things than a young man standing up.
But sooner or later, the mule kicks all alike:
The young the old, the stalks of crops and weeds.
One hates the sanctimonious Buddha-goo
But loves to meditate. To think one word
And the breath balanced on its floor of muscle
Falling and rising like years, The brain-roof chatter
Settling among the eaves. All falling and rising
And falling again in the calm brute rhythm of hooves.
--- Robert Pinsky