On your 21st birthday

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Incipit Annus mirabilis


I would exhort you to live passionately, did not I

Have so much of the craven in myself. At least I can speak

Of a few things. You are now slightly

Older than you were a day ago. Just as weak

And – I hope – just as prone to sensuality.

Is it possible that now you will seek to follow

Your senses a little more. Little do we

Know of truth now, although our time seems to go

On with enough reality. Once there seemed to be

Reason to hope that we could catch up with truth if not

In books, at least in our lives. Now we are told there can be

Little chance of that; often eyes we meet in the street have got

More truth than our past lives. We fear to see

More as we grow older.




I would exhort you not to be too abstract; breathe

With the apple and the pear. Do not forget a line

Is also – in a sketch – the bound of her nakedness. Seethe

Not with the rough lasciviousness of the older man but with the fine

Intensity of assumed youth – for sometimes I think we feel

As old as civilization. Live according to some dream

The more preposterous, the better. Your dream will be real

As long as you have enough cells to compel illusion. Remem-

ber after any summer of creativity, her smiling.

Perceive in her eyes a pattern, in her rare words decipher a meaning

Not discerned but on occasion, intuited. This is not the same thing

As merely being a lover.

10th January 1972

Abe Caper

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About abecasper

Abe Casper is a South African author, poet, lecturer and translator. 1970-74: B.A. U.C.T. Majored in English and Philosophy. Abe is bilingual in English, French also speaks and writes Italian and lives in Cape Town. Read more on http://www.translatorscafe.com/cafe/member128497.htm
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1 Response to On your 21st birthday

  1. Carlos Versluys. says:

    Glad to see you’re still writing poetry Abe.


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