This Instant

A reflection on the passage of time as we ring out the old and ring in the ever present new. From Hayden Carruth's "Collected Shorter Poems 1946 - 1991."

Song: The Old, Old Man

  • Everywhere reality offers
  • the old, old man
  • its misery and tawdriness, which
  • is why he is so tired and why
  • the weathers have become
  • tedious for him, but then what's this,
  • this instant - a cardinal in May
  • in a lilac tree -
  • this deepness and darkness
  • of inner foliage, the gleam
  • on the upper leaves,
  • the pendulous fresh clusters
  • of lavender blossom, the red
  • bird? Not beauty,
  • nor truth in any useful way.
  • It's the instant,
  • it's the cardinal in May
  • in the lilac tree.
  • The old man is weary
  • of instants, so heavy the score,
  • and weary of weariness;
  • it's true, he has come very far.
  • He pauses to see
  • how the springtime has returned
  • invariable again,
  • and how he notices
  • this instant, this cardinal in May
  • in the lilac tree.