The Good, the Great, the Wise

AT thirty I know I shall not live for long,
Not long enough at fourscore years and ten.
That being so, the waste of time is wrong:
I have no time to waste on meagre men.
When I was a fool, I suffered fools. I knew
The sick of soul, the mean with hate half-blind,
And those who twist whatever truth is true,
Then sneer at it. To such men I was kind.
But that apprenticeship is at an end.
I think now of the good, the great, the wise,
And may their company show many a friend.
For I shall know by a passion in their eyes
Women who need no words for pride, and call
Men warm and vigorous in thought by name.
They break the bitter with the sweet, and all
Is bread. They live on life. Their faith is fame.
Such men by kind against destruction lean
With their whole honor’s height and weight and length.
Theirs is the only war the word can mean.
Now to this war I offer all my strength.
JOHN HOLMES