Hampton Court Palace, London,
Dial of the Astronomical Clock,
made by Nicholas Oursian in 1540
This splendid example of the clockmaker's art does not go
tick - tock;
nevertheless, it measures the passing of time.
Today is my birthday, and this poem describes how I feel about it.
The first surprise: I like it.
Whatever happens now, some things
that used to terrify have not:
I didn't die young, for instance. Or lose
my only love. My three children
never had to run away from anyone.
Don't tell me this gratitude is complacent.
We all approach the edge of the same blackness
which for me is silent.
knowing as much sharpens
my delight in January freesia,
hot coffee, winter sunlight. So we say
as we lie close on some gentle occasion:
every day won from such
darkness is celebration.