by Nausheen Eusuf

      It is the blight man was born for,
      It is Margaret you mourn for.

      — Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘Spring and Fall’

Do not grieve at each departing:
time allows and time lays waste;
it is the blight we are born for, and soon
the last of your tears will be effaced.

You and I are disappearing as we speak,
the sound of your voice becoming one
with the wind, your footsteps mingling
with the sand, for our time is almost run.

We laugh and drink, but the clock ticks
and the pages of a calendar fall away;
the sun sinks below the horizon,
and twilight enfolds the slow-dying day.

Already you can hear the voices
on the far shore, and the moon will show
you where the boatman patiently
abides, the dark waters roiling below.


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