Wednesday, June 06, 2018

1024. A Small Eternity - Robert Penn Warren

The time comes when you count the names—whether
dim or flaming in the head’s dark, or whether
In stone cut, time-crumbling or moss-glutted.
You count the names to reconstruct yourself.

But a face remembered may blur, even as you stare
At a headstone. Or sometimes a face, as though from air,
Will stare at you with a boyish smile—but, not
Stone-moored, blows away like dandelion fuzz.

It is very disturbing. It is as though you were
The idiot boy who ventures out on pond-ice
Too thin and hears here—hears there—the creak
And crackling spread. That is the sound Reality

Makes as it gives beneath your metaphysical
Poundage. Memory dies. Or lies. Time
Is a wind that never shifts air. Pray only
That, in the midst of selfishness, some

Small act of careless kindness, half-unconscious, some
Unwitting smile or brush of lips, may glow
In some other mind’s dark that’s lost your name, but stumbles
Upon that momentary Eternity.