All I have of nature’s in this jar—
Driftwood, acorns, and a chip of glass,
Assorted chestnuts, pebbles from a shore.
A composition in neutral tones perhaps
Is all they come to, separated now
From singular moments of the past
They once evoked. I'm afraid that’s how
The past seems, like a country I’ve left—
Northern, burdened with snow,
Impossibly far to travel to again. At last,
With great reluctance, I’m growing accustomed
To a land vastly different from the one I lost.
Those days, I stopped on paths to the ocean,
Or bent down awkwardly on a wintry walk,
To pick up, for a later time, a talisman.
I’ve forgotten the name of the beach,
Or whose pocket I curled my hand in
As we strolled, and the day’s talk
Has vanished, too, but not a sense of abandon
The waves and gusty wind lent, nor the thought
Of something being looked for, even then.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 3, on page 46
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