Susanna and the Elders: Gert Van Ort, 1520-25, stained glass, diameter 24 cm (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
The old ones want to be young, and they aren't young,
and it rankles, they ache when they see the young,
and they can't help wanting to spite it on them
The old ones say to themselves: We are not going to be old,
we are not going to make way, we are not going to die,
we are going to stay on and on and on and on and on
and make the young look after us
till they are old. We are stronger than the young.
We have more energy, and our grip on life is harder.
Let us triumph, and let the young be listless
with their puny youth.
We are younger even now than the young, we can put their youth in abeyance.
And it is true.
And they do it.
And so it goes on.