“il saggio al buon concetto arriva
d’ un’ immagine viva
vicino a morte”
–Michelangelo Buonarroti

After many years and versions,
when the thinker finally manages,
in hard, high-country stone, a clear
conception of a living image, death is closing in.
We come so late to high, bright things
we can’t stay long.

In the same way, reality keeps wandering,
day in, day out, from one
incarnation to another. In the upper
reaches of loveliness, where it can touch
your own divinity, reality
is very nearly done. It can’t hang on
to anything it’s found.

So terror, coming deeply into beauty,
calms huge hunger with strange food.
I see your face and cannot think or say
which is the greater – the damage or the joy,
or the end of the world or the ultimate pleasure.

Robert Bringhurst, “Day In, Day Out” in Selected Poems (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 2011)

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