On Truth

Dear Chaucer, I have stayed along
the highway of my youth
because of your instructive song,
that gentle poem, On Truth.

True, I have read and not obeyed –
such simple thoughts make merry.
But you were with me when I prayed
at Canterbury.

Old father, half a thousand years
have gone since you came down
from London, town of men’s careers,
to this more honest town.

Yet still your voice is warm and clear
and still the song rings true,
and I am glad that I came here,
half-echoing you.

Oh tell your grand soft-spoken rhyme –
though all the world has changed –
in half a thousand years’ time
to others death-estranged.

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