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Eternity in Love

“Eternity is in love,” the poet wrote, “in love
with the productions of time.” From his vantage point
of filthy Thames and cruel streets, amid the shambles
of an empire’s hub and capital of greed,
he looked, and all around he found his proof:
eternity; eternity in love; in love
with each and any flower, or grain of sand, or song,
or chimney sweep.

We, when we hear the clamor, high
in the frosty air, of wild geese flocking
to their winter feeding grounds; when we hear
the tiny crack of catkin, bud, or pod, ripening,
opening, each in its due time;
when, in a flood of sunshine, we see the silver flash
of salmon curving in a hefty leap and plunge;
when, amid the slow, far journeying of constellations,
in the staccato of the Dog Star’s signaling,
we catch the quick red stab of its eye winking;
then, and at all such moments when the fire
of Nature self-reveals,
we stop, must stop, and test the truth
of Blake’s wise apothegm.

In the cadences of poetry, of memory, of work,
and in the silences to which they lead;
in or after acts, however small or bold, of empathy or hope;
on occasions when the news is heard that good,
although as fragile as a snail
or creeping tendril of convolvulus,
has yet achieved a breakthrough from its crush
of opposites; then, and always
when some gleam of spirit’s gold appears,
we again, to test the truth,
must stop.

In things contingent and ephemeral,
or seeming so, there! eternity!
eternity in Love!
in love beyond all waste and count
of years!

Print Edition

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    • Morton D. Paley
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