An Unfinished Composition

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President Boyd K. Packer

An Unfinished Composition

Ten years ago I was in England on my sixty-eighth birthday.  I was having a little difficulty.  I could not easily put on a coat. To comb my hair, I kind of had to bend down and did not do it very well at that.  I wrote a few lines which I have since entitled "Unfinished Composition." This is not going to impress your English professors. 

          Part I 1992--Written in England

          I had a thought the other night; 
          A thought profound and deep. 
          It came when I was too worn down, 
          Too tired to go to sleep.

          I'd had a very busy day 
          And pondered on my fate. 
          The thought was this: 
          When I was young, I wasn't sixty-eight!

          I could walk without a limp; 
          I had no shoulder pain. 
          I could read a line through twice 
          And quote it back again.

          I could work for endless hours 
          And hardly stop to breathe. 
          And things that now I cannot do 
          I mastered then with ease.

          If I could now turn back the years, 
          If that were mine to choose, 
          I would not barter age for youth, 
          I have too much to lose.

          I am quite content to move ahead; 
          To yield my youth, however grand. 
          The thing I'd lose if I went back 
          Is what I understand. 

Now a few months ago, ten years later, I added Part II of this "Unfinished Composition."

          Part II 2002

          Ten years have flown to who knows where 
          And with them much of pain. 
          A metal hip erased my limp; 
          I walk quite straight again.

          Another plate holds neck bones fast -- 
          A wonderful creation! 
          It backed my polio away; 
          I've joined the stiff-necked generation.

          The signs of aging can be seen, 
          Those things will not get better. 
          The only thing that grows in strength 
          With me is my forgetter.

          You ask, Do I remember you? 
          Of course, you're much the same. 
          Now don't go getting all upset -- 
          I don't recall your name.

          I would agree I've learned some things 
          I did not want to know, 
          But age has brought those precious truths 
          That make the Spirit grow.

          Of all the blessings that have come, 
          The best thing in my life 
          Is the comfort and encouragement 
          I get from my dear wife.

          Our children all have married well, 
          With families of their own. 
          With children and grandchildren, 
          How soon they all have grown.

          I have not changed my mind one bit 
          About regaining youth. 
          We're meant to age, for with it 
          Comes a knowledge of the truth.

          You ask, What will the future bring? 
          Just what will be my fate? 
          We'll go along and not complain. 
          Ask when I'm eighty-eight! 

          Part III -- To be continued