Glosa For Time
Strange planet and strange people on it
They yield to time but they don’t want to recognize time
They have their ways of expressing resistance
They make pictures such as this
Wislawa Szymborska “People on the Bridge”
The past is a foreign country
you pour over old photographs
wonder at yellowing images of wicker chairs
lace table cloths, tea parties on the lawn
what were they talking about?
Two flappers, bobbed hair, silk stockings, on a visit
to the sea-side at Brighton, they look happy
an older woman, slightly rumpled, poses
a monkey on her shoulder – your favorite.
Strange planet and strange people on it.
In the park old men walk briskly
elbows pumping, chests out
if they walk fast enough
they’ll catch up with their youth
those years when their bodies
were firm and they in their prime.
In a distant park in Beijing men
with long brushes paint poetry in water
their words transitory, sublime.
They yield to time but don’t want to recognize time.
though they see it when they look
in a mirror – a window
clothes locked away in an attic
carry the odor of patchouli, old perfume
leaves fall from a tree, dry and wrinkle
like skin. Dorian Grays hope by chance
they’ll defeat it. Carpe diem –
if only they could, seize each day
and hold it, halt the years’ advance.
They have their ways of expressing resistance.
Emperor Qin two thousand years ago
deciding he would live forever, designed
his city of terra cotta. Today crowds rush
to Xi’an, gaze at his soldiers and chariots
and wonder in awe: he lives on.
Now you lounge in your garden this
autumn evening, feel the last faint rays of sun
warm on your face, savor this glass of wine
this dish of dusky plums, this scent of clematis.
They make pictures such as this.
By Margaret Zielinski
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com