All those youthful outpourings featuring “we”:
To whom was I speaking?
Was “we” no more than a gesture
Intending to demonstrate
That I came coupled,
That therefore I was desirable
And no sad solitary?
For whom was I speaking?
There must be other things to be than we.
And yet as one gets older
The “I” fades too.
Even as the shadows of experience lengthen,
One’s core seems less substantial.
Those youthful poems that did not say “we”
Spoke as “I” instead. But who is she?
I am not a forest nymph, a tree,
A sibyl or a goddess or a bird.
I am leaning toward transparency.
I hope to end as echo of a word.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 Number 4, on page 30
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