When we were high school kids (late 1960s/early 1970s), my brother and I used to climb these rocks whenever we felt like it. The big crack in the rock above was a favorite, easy climb. Our favorite was to climb up and wait for the shadow of Pikes Peak (directly to the west) to reach us in the late afternoon. Then we climbed down. It was no big deal. Now you need a permit and technical equipment.


Pikes Peak from The Garden of the Gods


What a wacky morning…

Going into the details would only compel me to relive its idiocy and grinding boredom, so I won’t. We’ve all had these mornings. This one culminated in a search for a professional type envelope in which to send my invoice for the project, a search that resulted in the discovery of a photo album. Could I throw it out? I will, but I had to look through it, and in it I found photos that would mean something to somebody else. Damn. Responsibility… And the need for another envelope.

But I did find this photo. That was a wonderful day at Yellowtail Reservoir with my Aunt Jo, Uncle Hank, my mom and my ex. My shirt? My ex found it in a locker room where he worked, and brought it home for me. “San Diego School of Baseball” it said, and it was my favorite shirt for a long time. In the photo, I’m 34 or so. You see how gray my hair was already.

I believe this was the Montana visit that elicited, “I’m too young for a gray haired daughter!” that led to the decades long addiction to hair color products. Tough habit to break, but I did it.

Back when Sitting Down Was Difficult

One of the biggest issues of my teen years was whether girls should be allowed to wear pants to school. Yeah. Really. This had been a point of contention for a while. It didn’t just suddenly happen when I entered high school.

What finally made the school board accept the idea of girls wearing pants to school (1970) were our skirts. They were barely skirts at all. Even if we left home wearing skirts, by the time we got to our first class, we’d rolled up the top so the skirt was much less skirt. The boys loved them and had all kinds of ways to successfully explore the upper regions without our knowing it — such as dropping pencils…

In fact, sitting down was difficult. I was editor of the yearbook. A girl we all (the yearbook staff) disliked (and who disliked us) was named homecoming queen. When the best picture of her ALSO showed a bright white triangle, we decided not to black it out. It’s there, bright, white and on page something or another.


It’s true that they were cold on that mile walk to school. I was sick a lot, but I was cool. I didn’t know how cool or to whom until my ten year high school reunion in 1980, an event I attended under duress (pun there, ha ha). My mom, my aunt and my 11th grade English teacher all put pressure on me to go.

When I got home from work the day before I was to leave for this event, (I lived in Denver, my high school was in Colorado Springs, an hour drive away) I found a boot on my wheel for not paying tickets. I usually walked to work at a law firm in downtown Denver, only 3/4 a mile away. No reason to drive and pay for parking right?


In any case, I wasn’t going anywhere until I paid my fines. I took it as a sign and breathed a sigh of relief, but THEN…

“You can use my car, Martha Ann,” said my Aunt Martha. “I’m not going anywhere and if I need to go somewhere, I’ll call your mom.”


My mom had bought me a very pretty dress — white with a pattern of pink and blue, sort of a frothy polyester gauze, a wrap dress that tied at the waist. I think she thought I’d meet a long lost love, get married and live happily ever after.

So, I went. And it was there I finally learned who had really liked the show afforded by my miniskirts back in high school. As I walked by a dancing couple, the girl stopped dancing and turned to me. It was the head cheer leader of my class, the most popular girl, a pretty, bouncy, long-haired A-list classmate. “Martha? Oh my god!” She reached down and opened the wrap dress and said, “You still have those beautiful legs. I used to watch you walk down the hall. You want to go in the Ladies and do a line?”

Records of Recordings

My dad liked making recordings and he liked new technology. Back in the late 40s, before tape recorders, he bought a machine that made records and took it to my grandparent’s house on what was then the outskirts of Billings, MT. They had a few acres, a couple of cattle, chickens, geese, that kind of thing. My grandfather was born in 1870, so by the 40s he was already an old man. My dad thought his father-in-law was a riot and made several recordings of him.

Among the things my grandfather made fun of were Baptist and/or Methodist preachers. I understand that, from his point of view, they didn’t say anything, but the way they used their voice made what they said sound important. To illustrate this, he declaimed the alphabet.

Now the only existing record of that record and the declamation is in my memory, but it was first a record and then my brother recorded it onto a cassette.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been purging such “records” — not the intangible kind, but the tangible kind. In a month or so I’m getting my garage repaired and there’s stuff in my garage. A lot of it is family stuff that I didn’t know I had until I moved from California to Colorado. It came to me from my mom’s crawl space when she died in 1996. I didn’t look at it then; I just stored it away.

I went through it before my move to Colorado three years ago, but not with the brave and radical fervor I should have felt. If I hadn’t brought it, I could have brought stuff that meant more to me like my drawing table and bicycle. There were boxes that held my dad’s writing and the records of his life’s accomplishments, his uniform from WW II, a box of family photos, those things that — I think — everyone has. When my trash can is full, I stop for the week. I’ve also hauled maybe a dozen bags of useful stuff to the thrift store. In going through it, my standard is, “Will I ever use this? Will this have any meaning or use to the person who goes through my things when I’m dead?”

And, since I don’t HAVE to do this, I can keep what I want. One thing I found was a speech my dad gave at a university in Missouri on the topic of using computers in colleges and universities. It’s a record of how he saw the future of computers in education and, in itself, it is a record of what computers could do when I was 8 years old. I believe (based on things I saw later, the work of a professor of mine who compiled a concordance to Chaucer’s work using a computer) and knowing my dad and how he would have wanted to do this, that this is a print out, but I do not know for sure. The paper makes me suspicious that it is not. Back then, data was entered using punch cards and his text — a computer printout — means someone had to type all that onto punch cards.


No “GUI,” just the giant Burroughs and UNIVAC mainframe in the WW II building on the periphery of the University of Denver campus that housed Denver Research Institute.


I knew that monster well; I’d gone on a lot of errands with my dad to by tubes to replace some that had burned out and spent some Saturdays with him when he was working.

For me, this was a wonderful discovery. Much of my career involved teaching people — colleagues and students — to use computers in college and university computer writing labs. I wanted so much to say, “Hey dad, look at this!” and show him my MacBook, iPhone and iPad — all proof of what he said:

Computer 1

Puking in a Mercedes


Well, here I was, all ready to write to this prompt, taking a break from taking a break. I started a story, too, then thought, “I wrote this already.” And sure enough, I did. (Copied Below) Still and all, it’s a good story for International Women’s Day though. When this day came around the year I was teaching in China, my Irish colleague and I skipped the festivities and taught our classes. After all, wasn’t it all about the right to work? Our Chinese colleagues came back with the gifts from the Provincial Governor — dish towels. And so it remains….


Divorced. “Pushing thirty.” (Uh, 25?) Pressure everywhere to “find someone before it’s too late.” Pretty typical? Yeah. Definitely, but it was the late 70s…

So what? Oh, kid, you have no idea how things WEREN’T back then, but it was pretty odd for a (reasonably) good-looking woman to still be on her own and employment options were far more limited than now. Feminists were IN ACTION but the action was too new to have born fruit.

“You wanna’ go to a fern bar and meet some men?” asked her friends one Friday evening. (Actually, no one ever called “fern bars” “fern bars” — but they were. Potted ferns hanging from macrame, uh, hangers; negative ion machines blasting good vibes secretly and silently into the crowd.)

“I’d rather die.”

“You’re never going to meet someone this way.”

“How is some joker asking me my sign meaningful at all?”

Fact was, she loved someone.  (A sad little love story that might make money if she ever sits down and retypes it [it was printed out from her Amiga back in the 80s].)

At work, administrative assistant to the directors of Development and Alumni Relations, she was surrounded by young law students. Sandy, Dean’s secretary, said, “You have to try. Mr. Right isn’t going to come flying through your door.”

Men were icky and gruesome in their way. She’s already been beaten up by her first husband. Once he was gone, the horror didn’t stop. The guy downstairs had attempted to break down her front door. She retreated to her bathroom with the phone and called the cops. When they arrived, and questioned the guy, he said, “I just wanted to get into her pants. What’s wrong with that?” Of course, they cuffed him and took him away. Men — good or bad. You decide.

Meanwhile, Sandy, the Dean’s Secretary, gave Larry Poser the phone number he’d been asking for. She got a call. “You want to go out with me? Sandy said you might.”

Larry Poser. Ah. Skinny, short, big nose, black hair, but funny. Very funny. But ugly. Yeah, definitely fell into the category she found ugly. Hmmm.


They went out and had a pretty good time. Poser WAS funny and so was (is) she, so they had a lot of laughs. A week or so later he showed up at her apartment with a bottle of wine. They sat on the floor and drank wine and talked. He said, “I always figured lively funny people like you would be slender. But you’re not. That’s too bad.”

She was far from fat, but God designed her to be compact and strong, and close to the ground. “Fuck you,” she thought. “Why are you here?” she said.

“I like you. I’m here because I like you. Listen. My friends PD and his wife, WIFE, have asked us to go out with them Saturday. We’re going to that new Italian restaurant and then for dessert. Do you want to come?”

PD was the chief public defender. He and his wife — both early thirties and beautiful — lived in a beautiful restored Victorian on Capital Hill. She was a grad student. Shit. And how could Poser be THEIR friend?


She borrowed an outfit from Bess who had nice clothes. Poser, PD and WIFE came to pick her up in their Mercedes. They went to the restaurant, which was beautiful. The food was delicious, the company was great. PD was VERY funny, but on top of that, she was very nervous. She realized she didn’t really like Poser at all and wondered why she was out with him. She felt she was on exhibition — something that always terrified her (she had a hard time speaking in public and had never made it through a piano recital as a kid). Dinner over, she and WIFE went to the Ladies to do whatever. WIFE said, “Poser really seems to like you.”

She felt a very insistent wave of nausea, a combination of fettuccine, laughing while eating and nerves. She held it down. “Really?”

“I think so. He talks about you a lot.”

The nausea returned.

They walked down the curved staircase to the front door. PD made a show of opening the back door of the Mercedes (brand new) to let her in. She sat down. PD closed the door. She puked all over the door, the floor and an edge of the seat.

“Take me home,” she said.

“No way. We’re going out for dessert.”

And they did.

A few days later, back at the law school where she worked, She was talking to Sandy. “How was it?”

“I puked in the guy’s new Mercedes.”

“Well, that’s memorable.”


“Do you like Poser?”

“Not really.”

“Good. I overheard something the other day in the hall.”


“He was going out with you because the Dean likes you. He wants a recommendation letter.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think he liked me. It’s mutual. I don’t like him, either. He’s ugly.”

“Well, Tony Pulire has been asking about you. He’s not ugly.”

That’s another scary story for another day…

Nothing ever made her more nervous than dating. Sure, it appears to be a sweet experience, with candy, flowers, romance and so on, but it’s a Mean and Vicious Killer, the “man of her dreams” a holy grail, and she NEVER knew her favorite color. And no; the adrenaline was NEVER worth it. She has hiked alone in remote mountains (alone with dogs, that is), had encounters with rattlesnakes, coyotes and seen a mountain lion. She has traveled around Europe by herself, lived in China during the early 80s, and has done many things that others think require courage. For her, they’re just adventure and life is nothing without adventure. But dating? Gratuitous shame, angst and misery.

The Wind Beneath My Wings

Today is my Aunt Martha’s 98th birthday. I actually celebrated a couple of days ago when I accidentally ended up on the “luv” station on my car radio and this was playing:


The last Christmas my Aunt was reasonably independent and in her mind, she bought Christmas presents, went shopping first with my Aunt Jo and then with me. It was a lot of fun. My present was a music box (my aunt had collected them for years) that played this song.

I have no idea if the song meant anything to her. I never liked it. But now it is my Aunt Martha’s song. In my mind it is my mom helping her big sister in school — my aunt couldn’t see well until she got glasses. It’s my Aunt Martha being on my side all through my life. I don’t know what, where or who I would be right now if it had not been for her steadfast faith in me, her encouragement, her sometimes very wise and timely advice, her perception, and the life she lived herself which was courageous and beautiful.

Happy Birthday, Aunt Martha. I wish you were here and we were making you a cake with a ridiculous number of candles so that all the wax melted all over the top as we did when you turned 50. I wish we were trying to put pennies under your plate, the family custom when you were a kid that we kept up every year for you. You are almost worth a dollar now. I love you and I miss you.

P.S. Aunt Martha is the woman in the light suit; I’m between her and my mom. It’s Easter, 1967. Her name was Martha Liberty because she was born on George Washington’s birthday. The family name was Beall — pronounced “Bell.” Her middle name was source of greater or lesser embarrassment to her all her life. 🙂


“What’s on the agenda today?” I asked, making coffee.

“You leave.”

“Sorry. Not until this evening. I wish it were sooner, but I had to stay forty-eight hours.”

“What time do you go?”

“Plane leaves at 7. I want to go to the Art Institute.”

“You have to go alone.”

“Why?” I asked, though being away from Mark was fine with me.

“I have to work. Paul’s gone”

“What do you mean, ‘gone’?”

“He’s gone to Colorado to buy boots.”

“Ah. You don’t have boots in Chicago?”

“We sell boots. They’re for the store.”

“Great! I won’t have to spend the whole day in the car.”

“I guess not.”

Mark was not happy. I began to see that he was tired, sad, drained. But then, I’d had no experience in the night with someone. I’d simply slept. I knew very well the hell of our day together, but no idea what had gone on between him and Paul, what conversations, fights, discussions. I didn’t ask. I didn’t want to know. It was none of my business, and I sought no confidences.

“The other thing is, Paul has my car. I have his.”


“I don’t think Paul’s car will make it to the airport.”

“Call me a taxi.”

“You can’t afford it.”

“You can.”

“Fuck you.”

“Thanks anyway.” I mixed up some Instant Breakfast and poured my coffee.

We began to calm down and to talk sensibly for the first time that weekend. I walked around the bedroom, finding my things and packing. Mark watched and talked. 

“Did I tell you about the foreign service exam?”


“Well, I passed it. Now I’m waiting to hear where and when I take the oral test.”

“Why do you want to join the Foreign Service?”

“I just want to leave the country.”


“Why not? You’ve lived in France and Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. You’ve traveled all kinds of places. You’ve left the country, so you know what I mean, or you should know what I mean.”

“I don’t know.”

“I just want exposure, Mark. I want to see things, know things.”

“Honey, you’ve already seen more of life than 99% of most Americans. It’s not that great to go away.”

“Maybe you’re right, but I don’t know that.”

“I’m telling you.”

“I have to. I want to. All my life I’ve wanted to live outside the country, in some place with ‘less,’ with a different way of thinking, of doing things. I need to get perspective, experiences. I feel so blind.”

“Well, you’re not blind.”

“What about you?”

“I don’t know. I got a teaching job here. I don’t like working at the store; Paul likes it. It’s what he does and I’ll be teaching foreign students starting next week.”

“Full time?”


“What about your writing?”

“The store has kept me tied up, and I haven’t written anything in more than a year.”

“That’s not good. I love to read what you write, and not just because you wrote it.”

“Maybe I’ll have time after I start teaching. I’ll have afternoons, anyway, while Paul is at the store.”

“Not too bad.”

“No. It’s OK.”

I was packed. We went out to Paul’s decrepit VW which chugged its way to the store. The timing was off; the carburetor needed help, but not mine. Mark opened up the store and I stashed by stuff under the counter. I hung around until 10 when the Art Institute opened. Mark gave me instructions for getting to the El and I left, walking into the bright, cool morning.


This is an excerpt from a book-length work of creative non-fiction I wrote back in the 70s during another snowy, white-sky winter in Colorado. It is about the relationship between Mark and Adrienne (on one level) and it is about Adrienne’s search for the purpose of her life (the over-arching meaning of the story). The backstory here is that Mark has asked Adrienne to marry him. She thinks that’s a disastrous idea because Mark is (mostly) gay. Still, he flies her to Chicago from Denver to talk it over and see his parents, with whom she is close. Paul is Mark’s lover. They share a house. Mark did not tell Adrienne about this before flying her out so… The weekend is a disaster for them but hopefully not for literature. At this point, the weekend is nearly over… 

All that is happening with this story now is that I periodically retype it into new technology… 😉

Snow Over Night. Kind of a Love Story

Years and years ago I fell in love with a mountaineer. I am not sure if it was love or hero worship. His nickname (private, between my friends and me) was “Epic, Legendary Hero.” He was so beautiful, so smart and so National Geographic ready that he terrified me. Yep.


He  has had a lasting influence on my life. One of the things I was inspired to do because of knowing him was learn to X-country ski. I signed up for classes at a place called “Denver Free University”. It was the kind of place where you could learn astrology, cooking and X-country skiing. I went to the first meeting of the class and learned about the history of the sport, how to dress in layers, and that we’d be heading to a place called Devil’s Thumb that next Saturday weather permitting. It was a fledgling X-country ski “resort” at the base of the Indian Peaks on the west side of the mountains, over Berthoud Pass, more or less across the street from Winter Park. It was the 70s, so nine-hundred-billion people had not moved to Denver. It was a very different world.

That Saturday morning at 6 am, we — and our skis — got in the Chevy Suburban and headed up a nearly empty and snow-packed I-70, took the turn to the pass, went over the snow-packed switchbacks, and dropped into the valley where we would ski. I had ordered my skis, boots and poles from a catalog, but they fit. I had them a long time, actually, and skied on them in California.

We piled out of the Suburban, put on our equipment, and followed our teacher, learning to skate, turn, all that stuff, much of it was similar to Alpine skiing, much of it was not. My big dream at the time was to become a back-country telemark skier of the highest caliber (didn’t happen) like the Epic Legendary Hero.

The most memorable and beautiful thing of that day long ago happened again this morning. When I first opened the back door and took out the dogs, there were ice crystals floating in the air, reflecting sunlight, a rain of light and rainbows.

Well, I’d better get out there with the shovel.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Part One, 1956

I am 4 or 5. Small enough to sleep in two arm chairs pushed together, facing each other. One of the arm chairs has velvety grey upholstery in a swirly design. The other, my favorite, is red velvet. I sleep the strange sweet sleep of that place, of childhood. Outside the window is cold Montana, the clear dark pierced by stars and lit by a distant radio tower. Some nights there’s dance music coming from the Red Barn down the road. Among the songs is Gene Autry singing “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Trains whistle through the night.

It’s still dark when I hear her, coming out of her room, humming softly, tying on her apron, buttoning her sweater. She walks to the kitchen and lights the stove. I smell the fire catch. She comes back singing.

It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old.

“Are you awake, Martha Ann?”
“Yes, Gramma.”
“You want to go with me to get the eggs?”
“Well, get up then. Put on your socks and your boots and your coat. Be quiet!”

Peeeeeaaace ON the Earth, goodwill to men

In the back room she reaches for her coat and a wool head scarf. She ties it over her ears.

“Put this on your head or you’ll catch your death.” She hands me a paisley scarf. Well, she has good reason to warn me. Already by then, I’d nearly caught my death in more than one Montana winter.

Of angels bending near the earth, to touch their haaaarrrrps of GOLD!

The snow crunches under our boots. She opens the hen-house door, “Shoo, shoo,” she says to the hens, “Shoo!” She reaches under the sitting birds, putting their eggs in our basket. “There now. We can make breakfast for Helen and them when they wake up.”

“Helen and them” is my mom, dad and brother — and anyone else who showed up for breakfast.

The snow crunches on our way back to the kitchen. The light comes through the small window of the back room, yellow and human. All around is cold grey/blue light of dim December Montana morning.

And through the cloven skies they come, with peaceful wings unfurled, and still their Heavenly music floats, o’er all the weary world.

I open the door. The kitchen now warmed by the stove is friendly in the light. “Set the table, baby. There are,” she stops to count on her fingers, “there are four of you, and Jo and them will be down, that’s four more, set it for nine.” I still have to climb on a chair to reach everything. The big table fills the kitchen with its chairs and benches from all epochs of Montana history. I love the chairs. Even then I know that they are chairs with stories.

Gramma’ lays the bacon slices carefully in the black iron skillet. The December sun struggles over the horizon, appearing as a golden gleam. Blue shadows stalk the trees. Morning.

And all the world send back the song, which now-ow the angels sing!


Part Two, 1979

I snarl at the lousy weather, the hanging gray cold, and all the people, I push through the crowd on Seventeenth Street. After two blocks, I catch up to a crippled blind guy banging his cane against the two-by-four supports of the narrow entrance to a construction sidewalk.

“What is it? What is it?” he screams frantically, “Would somebody please help me? Help me!”

“Damn it,” I think. But I squelch my inner asshole, not because I’m a good person but because clearly going WITH this obstacle is more productive than fighting it.

“It’s a new building,” I tell him, catching up. “They’ve build a covered sidewalk. It’s like a tunnel. Here, take my hand and we can go through it together.”

He tells me he is catching the Colfax bus which is now a block behind us, loading passengers. He is about five feet tall, if that, a little shorter than I. I look at him and see that every aspect of him is wrong. His watery pale sightless eyes, his pinkish hair flattened from sleep, his crooked, red, too-large nose, his feet twisting toward each other just enough to make his stride unsteady. Some of his teeth are gone and his fingers are gnarled. He seems to be my age, in his mid-twenties. His helplessness compels my trust.

“Can you run?” I ask. “Your bus is behind us at a red light. I’ll hold your hand. I think we can make it. There’s no ice on the sidewalk here.” We have a half a block to go and the traffic light behind us has just turned green.

“OK,” he says, and we run to the bus.

“This is fun!” he laughs a snorting little laugh.

The bus driver must know the blind guy because holds the bus at the corner. The man struggles up the steps and shows his pass to the driver. He turns around, facing me. “Merry Christmas!” he says, “Thank you! See you again!”

I raise my hand to wave goodbye, but at the last minute, I put it in my pocket. “Merry Christmas!” I say.

I reach the Presbyterian church on top of the hill just as the carillon begins;

“It Came upon a Midnight Clear, that glorious song of old, of angels bending near the earth, to touch their harps of gold. Peace on the earth, goodwill to men, the Heavenly host proclaimed. The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.”

Suddenly my grandmother is alive, singing in her kitchen, and I am only four years old, stretching awake on the bed made for me of two easy chairs pushed together. A Christmas tree stands in the corner of the tiny living room. My mind’s eye sees her in the dark Montana morning wearing her egg-gathering jacket and hat, putting wood in the stove.

“Are you awake, Martha Ann?”


Originally published on December 13, 2015 on Martin of Gfenn

Love vs. Life

I haven’t been reading blogs for the past few days — I’m sorry. The project I have been “typing” (my first “novel” written in my late 20s) has turned out to be absorbing. I did not expect that. I expected it to be writing practice, typing practice, but it’s turned out to be very compelling and educational.

I don’t know what it is, though. It’s 40,000 words — not really long enough for a novel, and I don’t know if the structure, premise, idea or whatever I had originally will work at all. I’m about to print the thing out and read it. I think that will tell me something.

It’s slightly maddening NOT to be able to comment on the story, not to be able to write “And here’s how that turned out” especially as the protagonista’s main drive in life is to escape Denver and see the world. I cannot write, “And then I went to China” because that was three years down the road. And I cannot write, “You’ll leave Denver, sweet-cheeks, and 30 years later, when you want to go back, you’ll find it gone. You will have learned what Shakespeare meant by ‘time’s fell hand’.”

It’s been interesting to think about young life’s dreams, too.  Everyone in the story is around 30 – the protagonista is 27, the loves of her life are a couple of years older. They are ready to settle down, but because the protagonista got married at 19, and the marriage was a nightmare, she is in a very different emotional space than might be other women her age.

I’ve been troubled for a while over my lack of interest in writing a female protagonist. The installment of the Schneebeli saga I’ve been peripatetically working for the past year struggles to find its “hero” and I’ve resisted the possibility that the hero might be a heroine. But here in this old manuscript, I have a definite heroine and she’s contending with existential questions, mainly, “What is the point of my life? How can I make it what I want it to be? Who the fuck am I, anyway?”

She won’t find any of the answers, but she will (I know) find purposeful work that she will love. She will see some of the world, and what she will not see will find her. Love will elude her, but it seems, even at this young point in her life, she had lost faith in it even though she will keep trying.

I think the “book” might actually be worth reading — ultimately it’s the story of a young woman trying to figure things out and she does NOT choose marriage and family. I have not seen a lot of that story with a woman as the center of the action.

AnyHOO, I’ll be back reading blogs soon, I hope. And, once more I am grateful to high school English for forcing me to read a sonnet I could not then comprehend. Now I can and it makes me weep.


Sonnet 64: When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d


When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.