To grow old is to lose everything. Aging, everybody knows it. Even when we are young, we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads when a grandfather dies. Then we row for years on the midsummer pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage, that began without harm, scatters into debris on the shore, and a friend from school drops cold on a rocky strand. If a new love carries us past middle age, our wife will die at her strongest and most beautiful. New women come and go. All go. The pretty lover who announces that she is temporary is temporary. The bold woman, middle-aged against our old age, sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand. Another friend of decades estranges himself in words that pollute thirty years. Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge and affirm that it is fitting and delicious to lose everything.
Donald Hall - 1928-2018
The Painted Bed
"Even when I danced erect by the Nile’s garden I constructed Necropolis. Ten million fellaheen cells of my body floated stones to establish a white museum." Grisly, foul, and terrific is the speech of bones, thighs and arms slackened into desiccated sacs of flesh hanging from an armature where muscle was, and fat. "I lie on the painted bed diminishing, concentrated on the journey I undertake to repose without pain in the palace of darkness, my body beside your body."