Monday, 20 September 2010

The beauty of accomplishment

As promised, here is the whole poem Old age.

As I wrote earlier this month, the beauty of accomplishment is the summation of the nobility, persistence and good humour with which we have met the ordinary challenges that come our way today.

If we are impatient and ill-tempered now, can we expect tranquillity later? I suspect not. I think the stillness that is to come must be won now. That is what we would wish to retain when everything else is lost or forgotten.

Old age

How often old age
Achieves the beauty of accomplishment.
In lines of clear enigma
Time’s translation writes down what was said
By tongues of passion, or of pain, or peace
In languages of longing, loving, learning,
Learning forgetting,
What was once done.

That it is done
Is so simple an idea to live with
It gives the face – time’s page, like paper –
And one may look through the eyes
Into stillness.

(Here is the Amazon link to David Henschel's Heres and Nows.)

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