what is past, or passing, or to come
— W.B. YEATS
You know that from day one you start
to lose a little of your heart;
your mother, with a world to save,
has given birth beside a grave,
and time, relentless surgeon’s knife,
year by year trims off your life.
But moments teach you not to be
deceived by immortality:
it’s far too little, far too much.
What you have is what you touch;
passion feeds on bread and bells,
a chime of sounds, bouquet of smells,
someone’s arm around your waist,
the best desire you’ll ever taste;
and every glance is one step of
the pilgrimage that leads to love —
silver voices, golden bough:
the immortality of now.
From New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996