The Sage is near ninety years old,
and his eyes are still focused and calm.
His voice is still booming, and laced
with kindness and moral force.
One sign of his people’s esteem
is a handrail of iron and bronze
that juts out of the marble steps
leading up to the tabernacle.
He’s outlived many friends of his youth:
his original prudent companions.
His survival is part of a wisdom
that he's never been able to fathom.
The younger men have always loved him,
and revere him too much to allow
that they, too, are his prudent companions:
so, instead, they erected a handrail.
The handrail will not disappear
when the Sage no longer needs it.
The handrail will not crumble,
and it will not be removed
as long as the people long
for the Sage to ascend forever:
as long as the Sage accepts
their love in his trembling hand.