“…and there is no kind of occupation in which men may not learn by their abortive attempts. “

I have not met a person
Who does not wish to be young again
Some because they hate mirrors, revealing etchings of time
Some because they hate mirrors, revealing landscapes of regret

If we could be twice young, twice old
We could learn from life
And correct our mistakes
Doing justice to those we wronged
Not those who come after

If we could be twice young, twice old
Some would study more
And others study less
Some would climb ladders
And others build homes
Some would love harder
And others love less

But we do not have this power
over life
Validates our mortality
Humbles our egos
Haunts our dreams

We are not Atlas
And yet believe ourselves to be
We carry our past with us
To pay undue tolls, punishing ourselves
With a tour of a mourning, regret, pride
And too often irredeemable grief

If only we would realize
Clotho has already spun
the thread of life
We might give our souls a rest
Ground our past
And reach for the celestial skies
That we might run farther, faster
And or just walk spry, without weight
Make the most of our cut of thread

Perhaps it is a gift
To not live twice young, twice old
But once
Because we cannot live without mistakes
How could we be sure
That living twice, thrice does not give birth to new crimes, regretful fouls
We would be condemned to live forever, amending mistakes in vain
That would be a terror

Alas, the divine was kind
And gave life once
So that one lifetime was plenty
To live and learn and come to terms
One life is not a weight to lift
But a gift divine


To the Young Doctors of 1895.” JAMA, vol. 314, no. 22, Dec. 2015, p. 2422.