We are the old, dishonoured ones,
the broken husks of men.
Even then they cast us off,
the rescue mission left us here
to prop a child's strength upon a stick.
What if the new sap rises in his chest?
He has no soldiery in him,
no more than we,
and we are aged passed ageing,
gloss of the leaf shrivelled,
three legs at a time we falter on.
Old men are children once again,
a dream that sways and wavers
into the hard light of day.
Translated by Robert Fagles