The Young

The city is always built on the young
The old rule, and order its stones
But no brick or mortar is borne by their bones
They look out; and if they still see
They see past the walls to the waiting sea
Rising or falling, in threat or in calm
Its order is just what meets their eye
Good or bad; in praise or in qualm
If truth be what quickly leaps from their tongue
Or if they dwell in a fantasy's lie
The city is always built on the young.

The city is always built on the young
Children on their weary parents' knees
Our labors a call and not a disease
You too were once a baby in time
A child, and is youth such a crime
That it should be made against the law
To do its work, and then at last
If we tired souls had heard at all
There is no old man's war ere sung?
Youth shall be spent before it is past;
The city is always built on the young.

The city is always built on the young
Sing then, with the flame in your breast
And put each your mete and mettle to test
To save your life you must lose it he said
And in years well numbered you will be dead
We are all slaves to uprightness
- this much is true, but to what end?
Sing then, let your music confess,
The horn must be winded, the harp must be strung
Call then the maidens and mighty men
The city is always built on the young.



it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
We stood in silence -- once more
No sound came calling from the door
No lights aflicker, no sounds of cheer
No voices of those we hold most dear;

We stood in silence; unwhispered air
And invited it in, it stood right there
Perhaps it walked, perhaps it sat
Unseen, what was it looking at?

The silence stood, it was upright
It was morning, noon and night
Nor stirred the candle, with its flame
There was no way to say its name;

But stand in silence, we all did
Or did it stand in us instead
Stood it under, or stood above
This quiet I am speaking of?

We watched the pictures, they in turn
Winked softly in the candle-burn
Said nothing, for what is to say
Standing in that silent way?

The page's words were motionless
In their black and handsome dress
Poised upon a field of white
Standing in that silent night;

The moon and sun had hid their face
From this odd and half-lit place
The watch-quartz made as though it stopped
The time too stood, and silence dropped;

Whispers the child, perhaps in fear
In wonder of what we're doing here
Why so quiet? What do we listen for?
And we stood in silence, once more.
a postscript is here written:
Though romantics often thought children to be wise, perhaps misunderstanding Christ's admonition to 'be as a child' - a certain experiment can reveal that a child's lack of self-deception does not equate to wisdom. For the voice that silence whispers to us who know it well, does not yet seem to be heard by them, as when it is called upon, they do not know to let it speak. Instead, they wait for some audible sound to occur that we are listening for, or perhaps fear the silence and fill it with idle words. But silence can only be heard where sound ceases; this simple truth is subtle and they have yet to grasp it.