Evening Poetry, August 16

Old Lovers at the Ballet

by May Sarton

In the dark theatre lovers sit

Watching the supple dancers weave

A fugue, motion and music melded.

There on the stage below, brilliantly lit

No dancer stumbles or may grieve;

Their very smiles are disciplined and moulded.

And in the dark old lovers feel dismay

Watching the ardent bodies leap and freeze,

Thinking how age has changed them and has mocked.

Once they were light and bold in lissome play,

Limber as willows that could bend with ease–

But as they watch a vision is unlocked.

Imagination springs the trap of youth.

And in the dark motionless, as they stare,

Old lovers reach new wonders and new answers

As in the mind they leap to catch the truth,

For young the soul was awkward, unaware,

That claps its hands now with the supple dancers.

And in the flesh those dancers cannot spare

What the old lovers have had time to learn,

That the soul is a lithe and serene athlete

That deepens touch upon the darkening air.

It is not energy but light they burn,

The radiant powers of the Paraclete.

You can find this in Collected Poems 1930-1993.

Evening Poetry, May 1

I’ve decided to continue with a poem each evening simply because I wish to share the power and beauty of poetry with whomever visits this blog.

Now I Become Myself

by May Sarton

Now I become myself. It’s taken

Time, many years and places;

I have been dissolved and shaken,

Worn other people’s faces,

Run madly, as if Time were there,

Terribly old, crying a warning,

“Hurry, you will be dead before–“

(What? Before you reach the morning?

Or the end of the poem is clear?

Or love safe in the walled city?)

Now to stand still, to be here,

Feel my own weight and density!

The black shadow on the paper

Is my hand; the shadow of a word

As thought shapes the shaper

Falls heavy on the page, is heard.

All fuses now, falls into place

From wish to action, word to silence,

My work, my love, my time, my face

Gathered into one intense

Gesture of growing like a plant.

As slowly as the ripening fruit

Fertile, detached, and always spent,

Falls but does not exhaust the root,

So all the poem is, can give,

Grows in me to become the song,

Made so and rooted so by love.

Now there is time and Time is young.

O, in this single hour I live

All of myself and do not move.

I, the pursued, who madly ran,

Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

You can find this poem in Collected Poems.