From "Northern Elegy"
The grim age turned me like a river,
turned my life into another channel,
and drifting in it I do not recognize
my shore. What visions of things
I let get away! The curtain rises
without me and falls. So many friends
I've never met even once. So many faces
of cities might have moved me, yet in this world
I know only one city and discover it in dream.
So many poems I haven't written
whose secret chorus rambles near by
and one day will choke me.
I am forced to know the beginnings and ends
and life after the end, and something I don't have to remember.
An indistinct woman occupied my natural place,
with my legal name, and has left me a nickname.
I did what I could with it, thank you.
I won't lie in my own grave.
But sometimes a mad spring wind
or the combination of words in a chance book
or someone's smile suddenly pulls me
into an unrealized life.
Back then something might have happened:
I could have traveled, seen and thought things,
recalled my past or gone into a new affair
as into a mirror, with a blunted awareness
of betrayal. But yesterday I wasn't so wrinkled...
Yet if from there
I looked at my present life
I would be envious.