Dana Gioia and Jim Harrison
Being happy is mostly like that. You don’t see it up close.
You recognize it later from the ache of memory.
An you can’t recapture it. You only get to choose
whether to remember or forget, whether to feel remorse
or nothing at all. Maybe it wasn’t really love.
But who can tell when nothing deeper ever came along?
Dana Gioia from “Being Happy” in the collection Pity the Beautiful
One is sophisticated and polished, investing old poetic forms with the life of our times. The other is primitive and bawling, investing old, old ways of thinking into new poems. One is city. The other is on the edge of the wilderness. One is a white wine reception in a gallery of old Italian masters. The other is warm bourbon, straight, after an autumn afternoon in the field with his hunting dog. One is a conference with learned poets. The other is an encounter with a black bear in his backyard. One is trimmed and spiffy. The other is grizzled and scruffy. Both command their art as masters.
The will to live can pass away
like that raven colliding with the sun.
In age we tilt toward home.
We want to sleep a long time, not forever,
but then to sleep a long time becomes forever.
Jim Harrison from “Back Into Memory” in the collection Songs of Unreason