Thursday, September 28, 2017

If  See No End In Is by Frank Bidart

If  See No End In Is

What none knows is when, not if. 
Now that your life nears its end 
when you turn back what you see 
is ruin. You think, It is a prison. No, 
it is a vast resonating chamber in 
which each thing you say or do is 

new, but the same. What none knows is 
how to change. Each plateau you reach, if 
single, limited, only itself, in- 
cludes traces of  all the others, so that in the end 
limitation frees you, there is no 
end, if   you once see what is there to see. 

You cannot see what is there to see — 
not when she whose love you failed is 
standing next to you. Then, as if refusing the know- 
ledge that life unseparated from her is death, as if 
again scorning your refusals, she turns away. The end 
achieved by the unappeased is burial within. 

Familiar spirit, within whose care I grew, within 
whose disappointment I twist, may we at last see 
by what necessity the double-bind is in the end 
the  figure  for human life, why what we love is 
precluded always by something else we love, as if 
each no we speak is yes, each yes no. 

The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no 
better. The eyrie where you perch in 
exhaustion has food and is out of  the wind, if 
cold. You feel old, young, old, young: you scan the sea 
for movement, though the promise of  sex or food is 
the prospect that bewildered  you to this end. 

Something in you believes that it is not the end. 
When you wake, sixth grade will start. The finite you know 
you fear is infinite: even at eleven, what you love is 
what you should not love, which endless bullies in- 
tuit unerringly. The future will be different: you cannot see 
the end. What none knows is when, not if.

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