Literature, and in this instance, poetry, holds a mirror to life; thus the great themes of life become the great themes of poems. Here the distinguished American poet John Haines addresses and celebrates through the affirmation of poetry our preoccupation with aging and mortality.
I seemed always standing
before a door
to which I had no key,
although I knew it hid behind it
a gift for me.
Until one day I closed
my eyes a moment, stretched
then looked once more.
And not surprised, I did not mind it
when the hinges creaked
and, smiling, Death
held out his hands to me.
Reprinted from ABZ: A Poetry Magazine, No. 1, 2006, by permission of the author. Copyright 2006, by John Haines, whose most recent book of poetry is Of Your Passage, O Summer, Limberlost Press, 2004. This weekly column is supported by the Poetry Foundation, the Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
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