Final Flood of Color

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photo by Harry Rodenberger

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable.
You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact.
When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.
~Clive James (who is terminally ill)  from this week’s New Yorker

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photo by Harry Rodenberger

A Fit of Elegy

photo by Harry Rodenberger
photo by Harry Rodenberger

 

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Except to prompt a fit of elegy
It is for us no more, or if it is,
It is a sort of music for the eye,
A rugged ground bass like the bagpipe’s drone
On which the leaf-light like a chanter plays.
~Richard Wilbur from “A Wall in the Woods”

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