Eden after

Myths of golden ages magnify
To cosmic scale our own experience.
Childhood like a magic castle lifts
Its drawbridge on our heels, and sends us forth
With such after-taste of bliss that all of life
Is spent seeking that lost paradise.

Children have a world within our world:
A microcosm busy and secure
As bees in cushioned fastnesses of flowers.
Days are their coinage: weeks, months, years
Mean nothing more than do the sun’s dimensions.

Summer meadows are their forests; trees
Make caves for them, and leaves to flounder through,
While high boughs could be painted on the sky.
Butterflies alight at nose-tip level;
Pimpernel half-hidden in the grass
Is more a treat than daffodil or rose.

But would we change our power for their peace?
Do frogs regret the shedding of a tail?
Perhaps we polish over-much the past:
Like antique furniture it gains a shine
When use has worn the texture all away.

Published in Scheherazade, Cambridge Literary Magazine