A Little Horaceplay


Gather rosebuds while you may;
drink your fill of Cabernet.
Joy is wasted
if untasted:
seize the doughnut — and the day.

See the world, but see it slant,
dancing till you reel and pant.
Never measure
wine or pleasure.
Water’s fine — if you’re a plant.

At my back I always hear
Death unhooking my brassiere.
Love comes late
to those who wait —
grab the boy and chug the beer.

Tip a pint or down a quart;
play your favorite contact sport.
Put the action
in attraction —
death is long and life is short.

Music, laughter, wine, and thou
(all the bliss the heavens allow) —
though tomorrow
bring us sorrow,
Paradise is here and now.


Susan McLean is a professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University. Her work has appeared in Iambs & Trochees, Light, The Classical Outlook, and elsewhere. Finishing Line Press published her poetry chapbook, Holding Patterns, in 2006.

First published in Measure, Volume 2 (2007)