Certain moments will never change nor stop being -
My mother's face all smiles, all wrinkles soon;
The rock wall building, built, collapsed then, fallen;
Our upright loosening downward slowly out of tune -
All fixed into place now, all rhyming with each other.
That red-haired girl with wide mouth - Eleanor -
Forgotten thirty years - her freckled shoulders, hands.
The breast of Mary Something, freed from a white swimsuit,
Damp, sandy, warm; or Margery's, a small caught bird -
Darkness they rise from, darkness they sink back toward.
O marvellous early cigarettes! O bitter smoke, Benton!
And Kenny in wartime whites, crisp, cocky,
Time a bow bent with his certain failure.
Dusks, dawns; waves; the end of songs. . .
"Thinking About the Past". I found reference to this work on this page that reprints his "There is a gold light in certain old paintings" - something I saw in the New Yorker in the 90s and has stuck with me ever since, with the title, and stunning lines like "Orpheus hesitated beside the black river. / With so much to look forward to he looked back." and "I say the song went this way: O prolong / Now the sorrow if that is all there is to prolong."