In these days,

When the winds wear no wedding rings,

Everything seems to be going away:

My sweet son filling his sails at a distant college.

My springtime friends on a trail to the ultimate west,

And, even in central summer,

I feel the days shortening,

The stealthy lengthening of the night.

And so, in the imperial extension of the dark,

Against which, all my life, I opposed my body,

I long to pass from this anguish of passings

Into the calm of an indifferent joy . . .

To enter October’s frail canoe and drift down

Down with the bright leaves among the raucous wild fowl

On the narrowing autumn rivers where, in these longer nights,

Secretly, in the shallows or on reedy shorelines,

Ice is already forming.

Thomas McGrath


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