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Hogarth judge

November 2017

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Hogarth judge

FAILURE AT FORTY

HE SAW there was no choice to left or right —
Time that had marked him for the least of sages
Pointed the hour, and several blotted pages
Stood witness to the struggle in the night.
Behind him lay a happiness that might
Have made him shine a figure through the ages;
Before him loomed a toiling at mean wages;
Alternative to sinking out of sight.



This much was sure — he never need retrace;
The leagues that he had travelled were an ending.
There wound no footpath to a sunlit place.
Where he might nurse his dreams, with peace attending
No promised joy would quicken the day's pace.
Nor write the past — a blunder still worth mending.

From Sonnets from the Patagonian by Donald Evans.

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