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Collected Poems

Terms of Appointment

Terms of Appointment

            I speak of walls and chains; of the vials
            of wrath; of limitations, denials,
            derelictions, fallings from grace,
            making them yours to save my face:

Though you live in the desert eating manna, you will not be happy until you have raised a house;
Though you build, yet chaos will stoop like a girl by the hedgerow to pluck your towers like lilies;
Though you gather flowers, yet the dust of a thousand carriage-wheels will settle upon them;
Though you go a journey into the interior you will long for the reek of salt and the noise of gulls;
Though you cross the seas your heart will remain buried beneath the hearthstone;
Though you stay on one acre you will sweat with rage to see your enemies riding upon the hilltops;
Though you conquer your enemies at last, you will wish you had spent the time making summer love;
Though you tumble her in every haystack from here to Paradise, there will be a question at the end and no answer from the night;
Though you grow wise with the sloughing of years, time will not forgive you for deserting your youth;
Though you live you will long for death; though you die you will lack breath.