Incipit Annus mirabilis
I would exhort you to live passionately, did not I
Have so much of the craven in myself. At least I can speak
Of a few things. You are now slightly
Older than you were a day ago. Just as weak
And – I hope – just as prone to sensuality.
Is it possible that now you will seek to follow
Your senses a little more. Little do we
Know of truth now, although our time seems to go
On with enough reality. Once there seemed to be
Reason to hope that we could catch up with truth if not
In books, at least in our lives. Now we are told there can be
Little chance of that; often eyes we meet in the street have got
More truth than our past lives. We fear to see
More as we grow older.
I would exhort you not to be too abstract; breathe
With the apple and the pear. Do not forget a line
Is also – in a sketch – the bound of her nakedness. Seethe
Not with the rough lasciviousness of the older man but with the fine
Intensity of assumed youth – for sometimes I think we feel
As old as civilization. Live according to some dream
The more preposterous, the better. Your dream will be real
As long as you have enough cells to compel illusion. Remem-
ber after any summer of creativity, her smiling.
Perceive in her eyes a pattern, in her rare words decipher a meaning
Not discerned but on occasion, intuited. This is not the same thing
As merely being a lover.
10th January 1972