Anthony Evan Hecht

(16 January 1923 - 20 October 2004 / New York)

Sarabande On Attaining The Age Of Seventy-Seven - Poem by Anthony Evan Hecht

The harbingers are come. See, see their mark;
White is their colour; and behold my head.
-- George Herbert

Long gone the smoke-and-pepper childhood smell
Of the smoldering immolation of the year,
Leaf-strewn in scattered grandeur where it fell,
Golden and poxed with frost, tarnished and sere.

And I myself have whitened in the weathers
Of heaped-up Januaries as they bequeath
The annual rings and wrongs that wring my withers,
Sober my thoughts, and undermine my teeth.

The dramatis personae of our lives
Dwindle and wizen; familiar boyhood shames,
The tribulations one somehow survives,
Rise smokily from propitiatory flames

Of our forgetfulness until we find
It becomes strangely easy to forgive
Even ourselves with this clouding of the mind,
This cinerous blur and smudge in which we live.

A turn, a glide, a quarter turn and bow,
The stately dance advances; these are airs
Bone-deep and numbing as I should know by now,
Diminishing the cast, like musical chairs.


Comments about Sarabande On Attaining The Age Of Seventy-Seven by Anthony Evan Hecht

  • (7/16/2008 7:40:00 PM)


    This to me is a great poem as I read it now in my 73rd year! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: childhood, dance, weather, rose



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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