My Ancient Teacher

I have a strict old tutor for each year
Through which I walk, until a vanished sun
Tells me at last my tortured days are done.
A callous chap, he likes to domineer;
And often, on a sleepless night, will jeer
At victories of other days, hard won,
His rod takes toll; I cannot climb nor run
Nor scale again the peak of Mount Rainier.
My mentor walks with me, we share one bed,
Sometimes he even binds me with a chain;
Yet each day's milepost shows we moved ahead.
Slowly I learn to laugh and not complain
While led down rugged roads. Instead
I try to love God's ancient teacher -- Pain.

1967 second prize,
Washington State Poetry Contest