The Octogenarian

We spend our years as a tale that is told.
Ps 90:9 (King James Bible)

I said to the man who asked me:
‘What valediction will you give
when the lease of your house expires?’
A tale that is told.

(He expected requiescat in pace or
some other elegiac piety).

Just a tale that is told,I repeated
as my years are outsold and I am come
to the threshold of a step in the dark.
Just a tale that is told.

‘Who did the telling?’ he pressed,
being bold. And I answered
I do not know whether I’m the tale
or the telling, nor who holds
this leasehold. All I know,
when chapters are polled, they could speak
for or against me. At least, now that I’m old,
in faith I shall yield this leasehold
to the One who first plotted,
A tale that is told.