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Heads Up poetry column: Sensual music

Sensual music

what is past, or passing, or to come


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