Once upon a time, once upon a dream At a crossroad stood a man under a tree
On his back was growing, immense and grotesque, A golden leaves oak filled with silver birds.
In each leaf, you could see a face, a moment Plucked from his past, an instant chosen.
And each bird, in their voice, either sang or spoke An air or a phrase the tree-man had known.
And the tree-man stood bent under such a burden, And he hailed passersby with his old, crinkly voice.
"Would you, please, lend a hand to an old, lonely man And carry for me my burden one moment?"
Most, believing him fay or perhaps a demon, Hurried along the way, never helping the man.
But one day, a young knight, aspiring to more deeds Agreed to help the man, ready to carry the tree.
But the man kept the tree, and what surprise was his When the old face suddenly had shed all its years.
His body now unbent carried the odd tree Lifted it at arm's length with the greatest of ease.
The young knight now old looked at his wrinkly hands And vowed that he would never be tricked again.
The cruel but true morale of this fable Is that age, not memories, is the one true load And to live your life with this thought as you should "If youth only knew, if old age only could."