What was is . . . since 1930; the boys in my old gang are senior partners. They start up bald like baby birds to embrace retirement. At the altar of surrender, I met you in the hour of credulity. How your misfortune came out clearly to us at twenty. At the gingerbread casino, how innocent the nights we made it on our Vesuvio martinis with no vermouth but vodka to sweeten the dry gin— the lash across my face that night we adored . . . soon every night and all, when your sweet, amorous repetition changed. Fertility is not to the forward, or beauty to the precipitous— things gone wrong clothe summer with gold leaf. Sometimes I catch my mind circling for you with glazed eye— my lost love hunting your lost face. Summer to summer, the poplars sere in the glare— it's a town for the young, they break themselves against the surf. No dog knows my smell.
From Day by Day by Robert Lowell, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1975, 1976, 1977 by Robert Lowell. Used by permission. All rights reserved.