Looking Back - Poem by gershon hepner
Looking back it will seem good,
but what about the present? How
can you, locked in the here and now,
in your dark forest, see the wood?
Computer screens will not provide
an exit route from present troubles;
before the programs crash they guide
their viewers into cyberbubbles.
The answers that you seek may be
inside you, and your pains will last
until you go outside and see
the future, hidden from the past.
Though time becomes the enemy
of love, it is the friend of sorrow
not looking back in time you see,
beyond dark forests, joy tomorrow.
You cannot guess the answers of
its riddles while you’re looking back;
look forward, and the kiss of love
will make you an amnesiac.
Inspired by lines by Jon Ashbery in a review by Stephen Burt of Ashbery’s poems in the TLS, March 28,2008:
“Those places left unplanted will be cultivated/ by another, by others. Looking back it/ will seem good.”
They all knew him in that ancient, wondrous and miserable town
as the local amateur historian and vendor
of a kind of chili only houris knew about.
Then, turning his face away, he’d cry
to guess the answers of their riddles. If correct,
a kiss would reward him. If not, a retreat
to a piece of paper or promise to better himself
in huge academic halls some kilometers away,
didn’t tell him this.
In addition, watching with Linda a brilliant performance of Molière’s “Don Juan, ” at The Noise Within, in Glendale, after writing the first verse of this poem, I was inspired by a line Don Juan tells Charlotte, the girl who becomes Zerlina in Mozart and Da Ponte’s “Don Giovanni”: “Time is the enemy of love.” Linda has known the play for nearly fifty years, which is almost as long as she has known me, and I still look forward to seeing her every day.
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