Oh, If I Would Have...

by Douglas Young


I don’t want to reach old age
Some wise but embittered sage
Who’s full of regret
And just can’t forget.

Yet painful flashbacks streak across my night sky,
Such bright stabs of lightning that silently sigh,
Shattered by thunderclaps asking why
I failed to seize chances sailing by.

Sweet options gift-wrapped,
Unopened, untapped,
Bottles of thrills left capped
To chug fear — adventures zapped.

Oh, how I yearned to harvest success’s yield,
Yet each opportunity seemed a minefield;
I wouldn’t throw the dice unless I was sure,
For every risk appeared fraught with failure.

I used to think there were endless tomorrows
Until realizing I had more yesterdays;
What-ifs soured into sorrows,
And I felt mired in a cloistered maze.

But the winding down of my clock
Prompted me to dive off the dock
To search for treasures I used to spurn
Since I won’t find any in my urn.

Like a quarterback behind in the score,
Late in the game and looking for six more,
I’m now calling more passes,
Not just running-back dashes.

One is no longer remotely as shy
When he has run out of excuses why,
As the big deadline starts to loom near,
You shift your efforts into fifth gear.

So I throw curveballs like never before,
Eagerly swim to the much farther shore,
Committed to pen my own play,
Not sit in seats with nothing to say.

If you want lots of swell memories,
Come out from the shade and climb tall trees,
And squeeze each opportunity dry,
Since the worst sin is not even to try.


Copyright © 2016 by Douglas Young

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