The Middle Ages

Looking back is not the same as looking forward
You can’t see what it is you’re heading toward
All that’s visible is what’s left behind
The dreams distilled and the dreams discarded
What made you leap or left you empty hearted
In the moment and in the fullness of time
Now you see what it is that you would have changed
If only you’d known
Where you’d be and to be here is very strange
Waking up alone
In the middle ages
All along you paid close attention
To the answers when a voice asked the question
How’d you get here, where do you belong
17 makes us brave and so full of nerve
35 makes us pause but we’re undeterred
Never say die and so we push on
And some come to a place of reckoning
Try to fix what they find
I arrived with the questions still beckoning
In the back of my mind
To the middle ages
Now you bitch about your job
What’s wrong with folks today
The price of gas and milk
And the guy who begs for change
He’s camped out at the light
You hide behind your shades
And will the green to flash
To speed your getaway
You’re racing to keep up
Or just to be on time
That’s what you tell yourself
When the emptiness inside
Threatens to break out
Clouding up your eyes
You just have to pull over
We used to dread lives rendered ordinary
We always said we’d own a grander story
But the only kind worth telling somehow
Is the one about a jolt that makes you listen
That jagged lightning bolt of recognition
That love and kindness are all that matter now
And way back in the back of your mind you heard
Something getting through
Like some beautiful passage without words
Welcoming you
To the middle ages

- Mary Chapin Carpenter