You try, again and again, to comfort yourself
With the value of the wisdom you have gained.
You tell your mended bones as they ache
That the four lifetimes worth of learning is wealth enough.
You look over your hanging face in the mirror, eyes barely now open,
And consider well that the toll of the knowledge gained is not like your visage.
The grey that is where there was once fire in your eye is dimming…
You do not know how much longer you can rage as your light dims.
You carry on, battle hardened, hardly able to move with years of shorn scars.
You wince, grimace, and groan each time you must rise to meet the enemy.
Gravity is your enemy now. And he is too much a coward
To fight you face to face until he pulls you to your grave.
There is no surrender, only the eventual failure of flesh against your wisdom:
Four lifetimes lived in a third of a life are too much for a body to bear,
But your soul has been tried by the furnace, turned in the crucible,
Seven times refined until it is the purest of gold.
That knowledge must be armour enough for the twilight battle,
Purification enough for the trial against the storm of burning pitch.
You have come this far, and this is the wisdom you have gained:
You must never surrender, for it would be loss of a war already won,
But you will not get out of this fight alive. You, like the Victor,
Must die, too, so that you may rise to live in the spoils of peace.
In heaven, your wounds will be your commendations for valor,
and your sacrifices, your crowns of victory.