We knew the answers then,
how it could be. Remember
that the old folks mostly hung back,
looked on kindly and amused.
They knew as I know now
that everything would pass
like those flickers on a cave wall.
The community would shrink
and scatter. Ambition, death,
families—would do what they do.
We’d wake up, sad,
because the good dream was over.
We’d come down the mountain
twisting our ankles, sliding on scree,
bumping our heads on low branches.
We’d be bitten by ticks and bears.
And after awhile, like those old
mountaineers who went before,
we’d arrive at home,
sweep out our houses,
get back to work.