Painting The Picture

          When my hair is thin and silvered,
           and my time of toil is through;
           when I've many years behind me,
           and ahead of me a few;
           I shall want to sit, I reckon,
           sort of dreaming in the sun;
           and recall the roads I've traveled
           and the many things I've done.
          I hope there'll be no picture
           that I'll hate to look upon;
           when the time to paint it better
           or to wipe it out, is gone.
          I hope there'll be no vision
           of a hasty word I've said
           that has left a trail of sorrow,
           like a whip welt, sore and red.
          And I hope my old age dreaming
           will bring back no bitter scene
           of a time when I was selfish,
           or a time when I was mean.
          When I'm getting old and feeble,
           and I'm far along life's way,
           I don't want to sit regretting
           any bygone yesterday.
          I am painting now the picture
           that I'll want someday to see;
           I am filling in a canvas
           that will soon come back to me.
          Though nothing great is on it,
           and though nothing there is fine,
           I shall want to look it over
           when I'm old, and call it mine.
          So I do not dare to leave it
           while the paint is warm and wet,
           with a single thing upon it
           that I later will regret.

[ Author Unknown -- from Aiken Drum ( ]


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