There is, I admit, no small attraction in the possession
Of the wand—but invariably that becomes obsession,
For magic bewitches all it touches, and woe to the man
Who, having discerned its methods and secrets, believes he can
Employ it yet stay unfettered and unscathed, without effect,
(As if the mere claim of enchantment would not make one suspect
Both the man and his motives), all sweet fruit without bitter rind.
Such men may find the verdict of peers and gods to be unkind,
For who among us remains impervious to Nature’s whims
Or time’s ravages—our concentration wanes, the eyesight dims,
Our hands shake, every bit as unsteady as our convictions.
So we carry on, with our exceptions and contradictions
Expertly hidden, in the hopes that, at least for a short while,
We can offset, through the use of parlor tricks, cunning, and guile,
The diminution of our gifts, fading of our faculties.
So, as we reach our denouement, what have our abilities
Brought us in the end, save the knowledge that our reputations,
No matter how great, will be no match for our limitations?