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
If he and she do not know each other, and feel confident they will not meet again; if he avoids affectionate words; if she has grown insensible skin under skin; if they desire only the tribute of another’s cry; if they employ each other as revenge on old lovers or families of entitlement and steel— then there will be no betrayals, no letters returned unread, no frenzy, no hurled words of permanent humiliation, no trembling days, no vomit at midnight, no repeated apparition of a body floating face-down at the pond’s edge