If I count my life by the ticking of clocks,
In the old methodical way,
If I count by the years, and the years' twelve blocks,
If I figure it out by the ceaseless flocks
Of hours that make a day,
If I count from the annual calendar,
And trust to the measured years in there,
Well, then I have turned, we'll say,
But a notch, or two, on the wheel of time;
I am still in the flush of my youths' glad prime;
My life is new,
As the count will say.
I am scarcelythrough
With the opening play.
I am, in truth,
In the flush of youth,
If I trust to ticking and striking of clocks,
And count by the years, and the years' twelve blocks.
If I count my life by the beat, throb, beat,
Of the weary heart in my breast,
If I count by the aims that have met defeat,
And the vain, vain search for rest,
If I count by tears,
And by haunting fears,
By hopes that were all in vain,
By dear trusts shattered,
And good ships battered,
And lost on the treacherous main,
By faith unfounded,
And love death-wounded,
If I reckon it thus, why then
Counting this way, I have lived, we'll say,
Full three-score years, and ten.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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